© 2020 Elsevier Ltd The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has produced an unprecedented impact on all aspects of life, including mental outcomes like death distress. This study examined the mediating effect of positivity on the association between COVID-19 related perceived risk, death distress, and happiness. Participants were 3109 Turkish adults (Mean age = 38.64 ± 10.40) who completed online measures of perceived risk, positivity, death distress, and happiness during the pandemic. Results showed that perceived risk had a significant direct effect on positivity, death distress, and happiness. Positivity had a significant direct effect on death distress and happiness. Mediation analysis indicated that positivity mediated the effect of perceived risk on death distress and happiness. Results suggest that positivity is an important aspect of developing strength-based preventions and interventions aiming to reduce psychological distress and improve happiness.