Is there any upside to COVID-19

The lockdown has affected our economy, business, daily earnings of many workers and farmers. There are, however, a few positive aspects.

By Arun K Tripathi
Published: Monday 27 April 2020
A photo of Vadodara in Gujarat amid the nationwide lockdown in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Whether the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is man-made or a natural disaster, is still a matter of debate, research and investigation. Several theories have been presented, but one thing is certain: Nature has taken its revenge from the greed of humans for exploiting natural resources for several unwarranted needs.

It seems as if nature pressed a reset button on several issues: Air pollution, over-exploitation of nature, cleaning of rivers, the visibility of clear sky, etc.

Although COVID-19 is a menace that has created havoc in the world, the only remedy discovered till date is the lockdown and social distancing along with testing on a large scale.

Over 2.2 million people have been affected in 180 countries, over 150,000 have lost their lives and till date no medicine or vaccine has been developed. An atmosphere of despair, frustration and sadness has overtaken humanity. I feel, however, there is still a ray of hope for this time to pass and good times to come.

At present, parts of the world, including India, are in a lockdown situation. The lockdown has affected our economy, business, daily earnings of many workers and farmers. Almost everything has come to standstill situation.

There are, however, a few positive aspects of the lockdown as well:

Road accident fatalities mitigated: Road accidents have been a major cause for concern across the Indian sub-continent. A total of 467,044 road accidents were reported across all states and Union territories, that claimed 151,417 lives and caused 469, 418 injuries, according to a 2018 report by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Over-speeding accounted for 64.4 per cent of all people killed. I am sure this figure will be much less in 2020 and will be almost nil during the lockdown period.

Reduction in air pollution: Data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed pollution reduced nationwide, with cities recording ‘good’ air quality. The lockdown pushed pollution levels in Delhi to a five-year low and, across India, the number of cities that recorded ‘good’ on the air quality index jumped from six on March 16 to 30 as of March 29, according to the CPCB.

Reduction in water pollution: Similarly, reports are coming about the self-cleansing of rivers from across the country. The Yamuna in Delhi is as clean as has never been before since several years.

Reduced noise pollution: Noise levels at several places were found significantly low as well. Today, we can listen to the chirping of birds everywhere.   

More time for creativity: We are all creative, but because of a shortage in time, we repressed our desires to paint, listen to music, play games, read, write, dance etc to a great extent. Many of us attempt to fulfill our hidden desires for creativity during this period.

The pandemic inculcated cleanliness in us: Proper hand washing, disinfecting our living areas and workplaces, cleaning clothes, washing vegetables before cooking and above all, maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene.

It also increased digital money transactions, online shopping and the use of multimedia for meetings, webinars, talks and video conferencing.

Even after the lockdown is over, we must adopt these digital tools in our daily office work. It saves time and money and reduces traffic.

Physical distancing is another important habit that is a direct result of this situation. The popularity of greeting people by saying namaste instead of shaking hands has been adopted by several countries.

So, while facing difficulties in our daily routine, we must also see the positive aspects of this lockdown situation.

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