Could COVID-19 have positive effects?

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By Nishka Avunoori, Staff Reporter

Ever since the pandemic, the cloud of uncertainty has shrouded our lives. No one knows when our old “normal” will come back. But the new one isn’t all bad.

In mid-March of 2020, the entire United States shut down. Hundreds of thousands of children and adults were confined to their homes all because of the coronavirus. Everyone’s plans were suddenly halted indefinitely. My school closed on Thursday, March 14, and the very next day was my highly anticipated musical performance, but I never got to see our hard work pay off. Sure, the coronavirus has severely altered our plans, but through this calamity, we learned many lessons, and it has surprisingly positively changed our world.

Coronavirus has positively impacted our environment by curbing carbon emissions that are responsible for 8.8 million deaths each year, according to U.S. News & World Report. The lockdown restrictions have halted travel and manufacturing, leading to a decrease in carbon emissions globally. China — a global manufacturing hub — has seen a dramatic reduction in pollution compared with the air quality and pollutant levels from prior years, and the impact can be felt worldwide. Venice canals are cleaner than ever before, thanks to the coronavirus lockdown orders. Overall, with a decrease in travel, manufacturing, and air pollution, both humans and the environment can breathe easier.

Coronavirus has influenced China to issue a temporary ban on wildlife markets and Vietnam to suspend wildlife trading temporarily. Covid-19 has been theorized to have spread from bats to animals to humans. Because of this theory, wet markets have been forced to halt business temporarily. Nearly 60% of human diseases known to humankind have originated from animals, according to the CDC. A similar situation like this happened in 2002 with the SARS outbreak that originated in a Chinese wet market. Wet markets are the perfect places for diseases to spread because they contain many fascinating animals whose immune system weakens due to the stress of confinement, forming an environment where viruses can transmit from one species to another. Since the coronavirus outbreak, governments are taking serious actions towards wet markets and illegal wildlife trade.

Coronavirus has compelled people worldwide to be more conscious about their health and hygiene. Proper hygiene and a heavy emphasis on handwashing have been around for many years, but many people don’t heed these pieces of advice. According to WaterAid.org, only 1 in 5 people worldwide wash their hands with disinfecting soap after using the restroom. Hand hygiene and personal hygiene are now being practiced globally due to Covid-19. The public is more knowledgeable about their physical and mental health and is focusing more on healthier diets and lifestyles ever since the pandemic.

Coronavirus has led to a decrease in road traffic, consequently leading to a decline in road accidents. Every day 3,700 people die worldwide because of road accidents, according to Policyadvice.net. That is 1.3 million people every year worldwide! Coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to stay indoors and resulted in a decrease in traffic. In Washington, USA, traffic fatalities declined by 100%. In New York City, deadly road accidents decreased by 33%, and in Los Angeles, they fell by 50%.

Coronavirus has caused people to be more aware of their finances and more conscious about their spending. Although coronavirus has put many people around the world in dire financial situations from job loss to market crashes, people are starting to invest more money and are making smart choices with their wealth. People are more aware of their spending choices to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Coronavirus has motivated people to be charitable. Celebrities and ordinary people are donating either supplies or money to the less fortunate in these uncertain times. Many stores are starting to open early just for the elderly because they are at a higher risk of the coronavirus. Some restaurants are delivering free meals for senior citizens. Also, communities are working closely to help families cope during this time all over the world. Even though we are socially distancing, we are socially connecting powerfully. This pandemic has taught us that even during severe times, we humans find a way to help and look out for each other.

Coronavirus has given us more family time. Family is our number one asset, and people often find it hard to make time for their loved ones because of their busy lifestyles. However, thanks to the lockdown, people are connecting with their families and are building long-lasting bonds. More quality family time improves our mental health and teaches us to focus on positive things and reflect on our connections.

Coronavirus has instigated the need for improvements in the health industry. Our hospitals have suffered terribly with a surge in incoming patients, and so did the physical and mental health of our health care workers, but we learned essential lessons from this situation. Coronavirus has resulted in a more significant investment in hospitals and health-related research. Now we are prepared more than ever for another future pandemic if it were to happen. Stay at home orders have directed health care workers to provide telemedicine to patients. Telemedicine is the future, and it is improving day by day to provide quality service to patients because of coronavirus. Overall, we learned to prioritize our health care workers and hospitals more due to this pandemic.

In conclusion, although coronavirus has reached over 22 million cases and nearly 800,000 deaths worldwide, it has also bettered many aspects of our lives. Coronavirus has resulted in a massive reduction in air pollution, road accidents, and wildlife trade. It has also directed us to improvements in the health industry and more awareness about physical and mental wellbeing. Moreover, it gave us a chance to be charitable, spend more time with our family, and make better financial decisions. We have a choice to either complain about coronavirus or understand all these positive sides of it. We must realize that even out of a catastrophic situation, some positivity always exists.


Nishka Avunoori can be reached at [email protected]