COVID-19: Unintended Consequences

COVID-19: Unintended Consequences

Since the outbreak of the new virus COVID-19, the world has been in distress; with most of the world’s countries racing to contain the declared pandemic by advising people to “self-isolate”. This has caused serious changes in the world on many different levels. Some of these changes are negative and some are surprisingly positive. Indeed we are experiencing a crisis, and as humans, we react differently. It is okay to have feelings, we are dealing with a pandemic and it can get overwhelming. So maybe a few of these positive changes can help brighten your day.
The earth is taking a breather
With most of the world’s population being in quarantine, capitalism stopped. Many factories, planes, and different manufactures who are the root cause of a lot of the world’s environmental problems have stopped operations leading to many positive changes in the environment. Scientist are noticing that pollution in many countries is decreasing by noticeable amounts. For instance, NASA satellite reports during the outbreak show that air pollution in China has decreased like never before, due to the shutdown of most industries. Images of empty streets have been circulating social media platforms. These streets are now empty of people but are still full of life. Many images of animals roaming around freely are being shared: Italians, for example, are saying that Venice water canals have never been clearer, thus the emergence of sea creatures swimming around waters such as dolphins and fish, as well as swans. “I think one of the interesting things about it is, wow, the earth bounces back,” says FGCU professor of ecology and environmental studies, Dr. Win Everham on winknews, “It’s kind of cool that it’s happening at a moment where everybody’s under a lot of stress and reconnecting the the natural world maybe helps them deal with some of that stress.”
A view shows clear waters below the Bridge of Sighs in a Venice canal on March 18, 2020 as a result of the stoppage of motorboat traffic, following the country’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis. (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO / AFP) (Photo by ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images)
Kindness and compassion are all over the world 
In hardships, more often than not, people prove to be empathetic and compassionate towards one another. Although in normal situations acts of kindness are not things that would often reach headlines, we are now seeing more and more of these acts being celebrated and praised. Whether those be of the people in Italy magically sining from their balconies in scenes reminiscent of past wars, showing solidarity and bonding through social distancing even under quarantined, or people in China putting flowers in consolidation for the death of the doctor, Li Wenliang, who first warned about this virus, or others who are volunteering in every country to help their neighbors get necessities, and donating in any way possible to provide medics with food and the needed medical supplies. Humans bond in the face of a crisis. There is also a viral video of a young man who, despite being quarantined, found an innovative way to get together with a girl he saw dancing on a nearby rooftop. Watching something like that can put a smile on anybody’s face, and it reminds us that we, humans, are solution-oriented since we are able to adapt and create something beautiful out of any given situation. Another beautiful thing is that we have all developed a much deeper appreciation for all kinds of jobs that may have been neglected in the past. For instance, parents are now homeschooling their children and they have grown compassionate towards the hard work the teachers do everyday because teaching one’s child is not an easy fleet. People who work in supermarkets, security guards, janitors, and nurses, people who we rarely showed appreciation to are the ones risking their lives now to make sure we eradicate this virus. “It’s the little people that make the world go around”. Doctors and medical staffs are also being encouraged and appreciated by everyone as they are now the front row soldiers in the fight against this virus. In fact, during this crisis everyone can be a hero. While it could have been hard to believe that one day, staying in the comfort of your own house could save the world, doing it now can really make a difference.
Quarantine is an opportunity to self reflect
The whole world is currently put on hold, so there is no worry that you might be missing out or falling behind. You can look at this as chance that has not been given to us before and try to make the best of it. This may be your first opportunity in a long time to take a break of today’s hectic lifestyles, relax for a little, declutter and reflect on your life. With online learning, now is the perfect time to learn that skill you always wanted to learn but you couldn’t find the time. You can organize that closet you have been putting off for months. You can enjoy your time with your family and loved ones while you have this opportunity to be with them 24/7. You can also start being creative again, maybe you used to enjoy writing or painting, cooking or even playing video games but for some reason you quit. It’s time to start practicing the things you love. Now is the time to take better care of yourself and practice a healthier lifestyle, whether that could be by eating healthier or adapting better hygiene habits. It is a fact that every crisis has its lessons, and a person who enters a crisis will definitely not be the same person who eventually leaves it. That’s why, amongst all the uncertainty we are facing today, one thing is certain and it is that the world will change drastically after this crisis. But whether that will be a positive or a negative change, our resilience and solidarity will be the defining factors. So let’s try to make the best of what we are dealing with and use it to our advantage.