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Article by Sari Harrar, AARP

“In the short list of songs that have brought the world joy, you’d be hard-pressed to top the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” with its lilting melody and deeply hopeful lyrics (“the smiles returning to the faces”; “I feel that ice is slowly melting”).

No wonder that hospitals played it repeatedly over their public-address systems this spring as an auditory balm in some of the most stress-filled, soul-scorching places on the planet: the intensive care units overflowing with COVID-19 patients struggling to stay alive.

At Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, the song started up every time a coronavirus patient was discharged or recovered enough to breathe without the help of a ventilator. “Everyone in the hospital is under tremendous pressure,” says pulmonologist Steven Feinsilver, M.D., who has been caring for non-COVID-19 lung cases to free his colleagues to treat those with coronavirus. “Especially for those I see on the front lines of critical care, it’s like a war zone here. The work is relentless. To hear this song on the loudspeaker is brilliant. It’s just what people need, a reminder that patients are recovering. You feel good for a moment.”

Feeling good may be the last thing on your mind as the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its sixth month in America. As we struggle to revive after arguably one of the world’s worst health and economic calamities, is even talking about happiness self-absorbed and inappropriate?”

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