9 good things that actually happened this week

20 March 2020, 18:01 | Updated: 20 March 2020, 18:06

By Sophie Thompson

With the news looking bleaker than ever, it's about time we looked at the heart-warming, happy and down-right funny things that happened in the world this week. Because we all need a break, hey?

If you've been watching the news this week, there's no shortage of coronavirus content, bringing the doom and gloom of the situation right into your front room.

Unfortunately, that means that among stupid remarks from certain world leaders and the battle to save the most vulnerable people in society, we don't get to hear about the actual good things that are still happening.

If you're following NHS advice and only picking up what you need from the supermarket (we're looking at you, stockpilers), the next few months of watching Netflix should be a breeze.

READ MORE: 21 working from home memes that will get you through the coronavirus outbreak

Penguins were left free to roam around the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Penguins were left free to roam around the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. . Picture: Shedd Aquarium via Twitter/Ellen

So, while we wait for the mayhem to die down, we've rounded up the top 10 happiest stories from the week - because who doesn't need a wholesome break during these trying times?

1. A pianist plays ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from their balcony, only for a saxophonist neighbour to join in

Quarantine is sending people a little cray-cray. And in-between watching episodes on Netflix, people are turning to their talents to occupy themselves and their neighbours while they're stuck inside - and it was only last week we lived for Italians singing at their neighbours because they weren't allowed outside.

One viral clip we're obsessed with involves a Barcelona resident, taking his piano to his apartment balcony, and giving a glorious rendition of Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' - pretty ordinary, right?

It gets even better, when as he's being recorded playing the song, one of his neighbours across the way comes out on their balcony and joins in...on the saxophone. And it actually sounds incredible. Celine Dion, bringing communities together since 1968.

2. Netflix Party means we can still hang with our friends in self-isolation

Isolation is the new socialising, right? And while we're all out here trying to make the best of our coronavirus quarantines, there's a new (and frankly overdue) Google Chrome extension that lets you hang out with your friends...without actually having to see them in person.

Netflix Party is a new screen sharing system that allows you to sync up your account with as many friends as you like (up to 500,000 if you have that many), allowing you to watch the same show at the same time from different locations - social distancing, who? There's even a chat room on the side so you can talk to each other as the Netflix show plays, but warning if you have any flaky friends - if they pause, it pauses yours too.

Time to round up the troops and get downloading...

Netflix Party lets up to 500,000 people stream at the same time.
Netflix Party lets up to 500,000 people stream at the same time. . Picture: Netflix

3. Penguins let loose in an empty aquarium

If you're an animal lover, there's nothing more wholesome than seeing your favourite movies (admit it, Madagascar) projected into the real world - and while coronavirus has caused gloom for many, it's given penguins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to do some exploring.

Since the aquarium has been closed due to the virus, the keepers decided to let some of the penguins roam around the place and take a look at some of the other animals - and in particular Wellington, a 30-year-old rockhopper has made our hearts warm with his attraction to the Amazonian fish.

Ok, we get it, he probably wanted to eat them but...wholesome, no?

4. NHS staff given generous discounts/free food to show appreciation

The NHS are the real heroes of this entire situation, and what better way to give back to our frontline workers than with something we can all agree on? Food.

Lots of food outlets and restaurants have teamed up to provide meals and discounts for emergency service employees as a way of saying thank you for their hard work during the outbreak.

Current offers include: 50% off and free hot drinks at Pret, free drinks from Burger King, 50% off at Leon, 50% off at Nandos, and a free Domino's pizza (in certain stores), with the list of companies joining ever-growing, and you just need to flash your card to claim. It's the little things.

5. Our favourite artists are putting on Instagram live stream concerts

While everyone is cooped up indoors, if you had plans coming up over the spring, chances are, they've been cancelled. And while it's a measure that has to take place for safety, we totally get that it's still disappointing to hear that the concert or holiday you'd saved up for won't be happening.

Of course, if you've been affected, or even if you haven't, the internet always rallies together to do the right thing, and our favourite musicians have been using their self-isolation time to put on live-stream concerts for fans, for free.

Yungblud, Christine and the Queens, and Charlie Puth are just some of the artists rallying around to provide a little bit of comfort and entertainment during these times, with WHO-organised concerts upcoming to raise relief money.

THE YUNGBLUD SHOW LIVE (with MGK, Bella Thorne, and Oliver Tree)

6. Elderly life-long friends decide to self isolate together and document it

People of a certain age (we're not going to call them old, that's cruel) are more at-risk than any of us when it comes to the current situation, and while it's advised to stay away from elderly relatives to keep them safe, a group of women in their 70s have won over the internet by moving in together to self-isolate.

Doreen, Dotty and Carol decided they'd rather be with their friends than alone, and have been documenting themselves stocking up on wine, binge-watching The Crown, and will be using Dotty's back yard for exercise. Squad goals.

7. You can watch broadway musicals online for free at home

If Netflix just isn't your jam and you'd rather watch a musical, what better way than to bring Broadway to your home?

With theatres everywhere shutting amid coronavirus, BroadwayHD is offering a free 7-day trial for new viewers, with a $8.99 monthly fee if you want to continue, so you can watch some of the shows you'll be missing out on without any risk.

The roster of Broadway shows on the platform include: Kinky Boots, The King & I, 42nd Street, An American In Paris and She Loves Me, the first Broadway show ever to be live-streamed, starring Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi and Jane Krakowski. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Cats, Phantom Of The Opera, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Sound of Music are also available on the service.

A 5,6,7,8...

With theatres on lockdown, we're bringing broadway to our living rooms.
With theatres on lockdown, we're bringing broadway to our living rooms. Picture: Alexander Spatari

8. PrEP will now be available in England

PrEP - or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a drug that dramatically reduces the transmission of HIV between people - and now it'll be available for free in England for the first time.

103,800 people are currently living with HIV in the UK, and the once-a-day pill being available on the NHS will "eliminate new HIV infections" within 10 years according to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, so is a major breakthrough in the fight against the virus.

Hurrah!

The cost of giving out the pills on the NHS is less than treating a patient for their life time.
The cost of giving out the pills on the NHS is less than treating a patient for their life time. . Picture: Getty Images

9. All the hilarious memes

Would it even be self-isolation if Twitter didn't come through with the #content? While we've been busy working from home (or not getting dressed for weeks), everyone who's in the same situation is dealing with it in the best way possible.

With 184,000 people now affected by COVID-19 and millions of people being forced out of their offices, we all need a bit of down time from the madness, don't we?

See the full list of the best ones here.

It's not all bad, hey? In the words of Kylie Jenner, happy self-isolation!