Virginians unite during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 9:29 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 21:30:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As health officials and state leaders continue to get a feel for how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts Virginia, and CBS 6 News are tracking stories of how everyone is pulling together.

This week, CBS 6 News told you about things you can do to help out your neighbor and ways folks are already putting that into practice.

While we're all trying to keep our distance and prevent the spread of the virus -- a local psychology professor says take care of your mental health, too.

VDU Psychology Professor Michael Southam-Gerow recommended using technology to connect with loved-ones to wardoff feelings of loneliness.

"This is a really unprecedented situation," Southam-Gerow said. "What we`re doing right now, this FaceTiming. If you can do that with your friends, if you can do that with your family members, even for a few minutes a day can be really really helpful."

Stores around Central Virginia doing their best to restock, but some consumers are still met by empty shelves.

Supply chain experts stressed panic buys are not only unnecessary, but they keeps others from items they need.

"This is just one of those dynamic times that everybody is trying to do the best they can, but the rationality kind of goes out the window," Dr. Jeff Smith with VCU School of Business said. "When stress happens, we too often don't think logically. We too often think with our emotions, and that creates the situation where I need to buy 'x.'"

As Virginia pulls together, a local non-profit, the Ricky Johnson Friends Foundation, had catalytic converters stolen from the vans they planned to use to deliver supplies to people in quarantine.

However, those vans were only sidelined for a couple of days thanks to a Richmond-area auto parts stores that jumped in to fix them for free.

"We're a small business," Kristy Seredni with Seredni Tire Auto said. "Obviously we're being affected by it, but what they're doing is super important to our community, so we need to get them on the road and able to do what they do."

Donna Ingram with the Ricky Johnson Friends Foundation was floored by the gesture.

"It gives us motivation that yes, we are doing something right, that yes, somebody has seen what we are doing here or trying to do and it again, encourages us to keep on doing," Ingram said.

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