COVID-19 has undeniable and frightening consequences on people’s lives and the economy. With sickness, high rate of fatalities, death and unemployment rates increasing everywhere throughout the world, it is easy to despair.
Notwithstanding the dreadfulness of this pandemic, there are some outcomes that can have a long-term positive impact on the planet, ecosystem and humanity.
1. The Environment
The first positive aspect of COVID-19 is the impact on the environment. There have been low Carbon emissions with manufacturing and air travel grinding to a halt and this gave the planet a chance to rejuvenate.
According to data, China recorded 85 per cent increase in days with good air quality in 337 cities between January and March, 2020. As tourism is restricted in Italy, the long-polluted canals of Venice have now started appearing clear as fish and other wildlife return. Moreover, ecosystem is now rejuvenating and the wildlife is reappearing in many areas of the world. The biodiversity is slowly restoring in various parts of the world.
The coronavirus has raised hopes of fewer wars and conflicts, resulting in higher levels of peace and integrity. The United Nations announced to end all wars in the face of COVID-19 as the world confronts a common enemy: The Corona Virus. The Secretary-General of UNO, António Guterres, stated, “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown”.
According to the reports of ABC, a ceasefire was broke out by the Saudis fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. Also, there are many areas in the Middle East where war keeps going. A strict lockdown in these regions could lead to less violence too.
The third positive outcome of the pandemic is a rejuvenated sense of belongingness to the community and social cohesion. Self-isolation during the lockdown has challenged us as social animals who desire contact, relationship and interaction with other humans.
However, people all around the world are looking for new ways to meet the need for interconnectedness. In Italy, one of the worst-hit countries during the onset of pandemic, people in the locality used to join their instruments and voices to create music standing in their balconies. People also led street dance parties while maintaining social distancing.
There has been surge in the number of users on different social media platforms, such as FaceBook, Instagram, with hundreds of daily posts. The pandemic also saw formal and informal volunteering by which people used their resources, skills and abilities to help their community.
COVID-19 is a major market disruptor that has led to unprecedent levels of innovation. Due to the lockdown, so many businesses have had to adjust themselves according to a new 'business as unusual' philosophy.
It includes cafes turning into takeaway venues and distilleries now manufacturing hand sanitizers.
Many businesses also had to undergo rapid digitalization and provide their services online. Some of them used this need of innovation to redevelop their business model and grow their market.
5. Corporate Responsibility
Coronavirus pandemic is leading to a new wave of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It has become a litmus test for how companies focus on their CSR and their work with key stakeholders: the community, employees, consumers and the environment.
Companies are also donating money, providing food and medical facilities to support people adversely affected by the coronavirus. it includes free coffee at McDonald’s Australia and millions of masks distributed by Johnson & Johnson.
Many companies are supporting their customers, from Woolworths introducing an exclusive shopping hour for senior citizens and people with disabilities to Optus providing free mobile data so that its subscribers can continue to connect.
6. Reimagined Education
The sixth positive outcome is enormous transformation in education. It is true that most of it was not by our choice. With schools being shut down all around the world, many teachers opted the digital platform for the classroom, offering online education, educational games and tasks and self-led learning.
We are currently involved in one of the largest-scale experiments in transforming education at all levels. Home-schooling has become the new way of learning by exposing many parents to what their children know and do.
Similarly, universities are promoting remote learning and use state-of-the-art solutions to keep students engaged. Some universities are using augmented and virtual reality to offer near real-life experiences for checking students’ curiosity, engagement and commitment and also for preparing them for the workplace.
COVID-19 has given us is a new sense of appreciation and gratefulness for our achievements and our current well-being. It has provided us with a new perspective on everything we had taken for granted for so long – our nature, freedom, leisure, works, connections, family and friends. We had never imagined how life, as we knew it before pandemic, could be suddenly taken away from us.
Hopefully, when this pandemic would be over, we exhibit new levels of gratitude. We have also learnt to value and thank our health workers who are at the frontline of this crisis and have been risking their lives every day by continuing to their vital work. The sense of gratefulness can also help us overcome the crisis in the long-term.
All of these positive aspects come at a great price of death, sickness, anxiety and a depressed global economy. As heartbreaking and horrific as this pandemic is, its positive outcomes can be gifts we should not overlook. It is our duty to change ourselves and our system to continue with the positive environmental impact, peace, connectedness, reimagined education and gratitude. This pandemic shall end. We will meet again as better human beings.