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Opinion

A Bunch of Good Stuff Coming Out of COVID-19 Crises

“For a virus which thrives on destroying humanity, Covid-19 might just accomplish the opposite,  reignite our humanity and respect for one another.”

The Covid-19 news has been so continually grim, it’s brought us pain on many fronts including the loss of life, liberty, and meaningful human interaction, but maybe unexpectedly, the virus is also forcing us to radically examine our everyday lives, which will in turn, have lasting and important impacts on our communities far into the future. 

Habits have changed, creative options explored, in short, the world has been shaken like an Etch A Sketch revealing lessons and opportunities like maybe never before.

The following are some areas of our lives that are thriving, showing great resilience in the face of remarkable odds, and proving that once again, in the face of great adversity, the human spirit  and ingenuity rise to the challenge.

The Skies Have Cleared

An argument can be made that the clear winner in this lockdown is the environment.

Being forced to work from home has had meaningful impacts for substantially reducing C02 emissions. 

Pictures of a smog free China, where C02 emissions have dropped by at least a quarter, to crystal clear views on the west coast, these are wake up calls that we can and should do more to make our air and oceans cleaner. 

The fact that it takes a worldwide pandemic to recognize this is a bit discouraging, but nonetheless, there is no denying that decreased air pollution has immediate public health benefits. Importantly, the answer to pollution isn’t to stop all human activity, but to find ways to live our lives that aren’t as harmful to the Earth. 

After Covid-19, I fully anticipate businesses across the globe to reassess work strategies. To 

implement work from home options, cutting down on those long commute times and increasing workers’ quality of life, while radically reducing C02 emissions. 

Just look at this - for the first time in decades, the Himalayas can be seen from 125 miles away.


Science & Healthcare

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. 

Hard to appreciate that aphorism while covid-19 is taking the lives of our loved ones, but for medicine, the absolute necessity to create innovations and apply flexible work arounds, will have a meaningful impact for coming generations.

Healthcare providers will admit, the industry hasn’t been one focused on innovation, and then COVID-19 came in and dropped a grenade on the industry and for good measure, hit the economy and the supply chain. The industry has responded. 

Adoption has spiked, officials have gotten more open minded, and the entire vertical has learned overnight that it can run fast if it has to. And it’s not just about removing red tape for vaccines and trials, it’s the provision of care and administrative processes that have improved. 

One of those examples, literally, overnight, just about everyone knows what “telehealth” is.

Telehealth has become a great source for direct medical guidance, treatment, prescriptions and ordering. A doctor can relatively quickly gauge who needs to stay home, diagnose their needs and which patients look like they need to be in the ER. End result - quicker diagnosis and we’re not having 500 people walk into the same ER at once saying, I have a fever.


Business Innovation

This space is where we’ve truly seen the ingenuity and the best of America.

Businesses across the country have shifted gears to help wherever they can during this pandemic. Some are coming up with products that could soon become commonplace for hospital workers and first responders, while others are providing their products to assist those on the front lines.

From Anheuser-Busch and Tito's Vodka making hand sanitizer at distilleries to help fight Covid-19, to Airbnb providing emergency housing to 100,000 frontline responders and Krispy Kreme giving free doughnuts to health care workers, some 50 major American firms have joined the national war shifting their assembly lines to deliver needed supplies to doctors, hospitals, first responders and others on the front lines. Most said that they answered President Trump’s call for help and were not pushed into action by the government or threat of the Defense Production Act. “While by no means comprehensive, these are some notable examples of the private sector stepping up,” said an administration official.

These innovations and spirit of cooperation will not only live long after Covid-19 is history, but will be an example for future reactions to world pandemics. 

Slowing down a lightning paced world isn’t easy, but as it turns out, Covid-19’s biggest blessing might be bringing back a more civil, less partisan nature to our interactions.

Neighbors across the country are stepping up to help each other out, making grocery runs for those who can't leave their homes, getting medicines for those shut-in, and making sure that our friends and family are surviving this on a daily basis, instead of scanning our bottom line, the latest sports scores, or the dow jones.

For a virus which thrives on destroying humanity, covid-19 might just accomplish the opposite,  reignite our humanity and respect for one another.

Covid 19 is no respecter of persons. 

It’s infected the beggar on the street, the sports star, the movie star, heck, even the Prince of Wales got hit by the bug. 

Certainly riding this out is costly for us, both medically and financially, but in the end, it might teach us that the best thing we have going in this world, is each other.

Back To Basics

During the Covid 19 period, it’s been powerful to spend much needed time with family. 

Being quarantined with kids for example, gives us a fresh perspective on the world through the eyes of a child, and that is refreshing. Unlike us, children are not eager to go back to what it was, or counting the minutes and following the news to know when this will be over. They have embraced their new normal and keep thriving in this reality. They have a strength that none of us do. And they teach us to be hopeful and know that no matter what, we’ll be ok.

The reality is, we may have nice cars, fancy clothes or too much make up and accessories in our closet, but at the end of the day, all we really need is our health.

American society has shifted so heavily to relying on "micro-services," for everything. Need a cute scarf? Go on Etsy. Ramen? Postmates! Lawn getting unruly? Hire a gardener. Itching for some cinnamon rolls? Run to the nearest mall (seriously nothing smells better than a Cinnabon)! 

As we scroll through our social feed(s), we see everyday Americans rediscovering their creativity. People proud that they've created, kept alive, and named a sourdough starter. Others share the latest thing they've crochet. Homes turned into rock-climbing gyms. 

Even more powerful are the stories of teenagers using their 3D printers to create masks. Breweries creating hand sanitizer. Mothers sewing buttons on headbands to protect doctor’s ears. 

Sometimes it takes being locked inside to rediscover all of the amazing things that you can do yourself.



Best Of Both Worlds

What if the world just needed to slow down for a minute? What if the first real conversation you’ve had with your neighbor in 10 years is worth something? What if finally having the time to clean out your garage or to plant that garden has value? What if we realize that putting a puzzle together at home is good or better for kids than rushing them off to the next baseball, soccer, piano, or whatever time consuming activity we work all day to afford? 

The coronavirus pandemic is, in itself, a threat to lives and livelihoods. But that should not stop us from smelling the roses that we’ve failed to tend to because of our busy lives and crowded schedules. 

Start a new workout routine at home. Find out just how much help there is online to learn how to cook. Cut the unnecessary expenses. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a few years to catch up. Learn how to use a new technology. Actually read the book you put by your bedside. 

In a world that turns so fast these days, maybe slowing down could teach us something about ourselves. About each other. And about how we use our time when things “get back to normal.


A Few Examples of Our Goodness...

The pandemic has certainly upended daily life across the U.S.

Families who have lost loved ones cannot come together to mourn. Health care professionals are putting their lives at risk to treat the sometimes-untreatable.

But there are stories of amazing acts of generosity and kindness.

  • Hannah Lucas, a musher who also works at a convenience store, is helping her neighbors out during the coronavirus outbreak by delivering them much-needed items via dog sled.
  • When an elderly couple needed help while recovering from COVID-19, a former Army medic loaded up his RV and went straight to the couple's New Jersey home to provide essential care.
  • Betty Jackson was making a grocery run to the Shop Rite Supermarket in East Oakland where she found gallon jugs of water and lots of produce available. The most amazing part, it was all totally free.
  • In San Francisco, Pharmacy Students from UCSF stood in the rain outside Tin RX pharmacy collecting masks and gloves for healthcare workers who need them. Many folks stopped and donated.
  • And Hollywood has used its collective star power to bring smiles to the faces of many - below are just a few examples of that kindness:








About the Author

Jeff Powers

Jeff Powers is an award-winning journalist from San Diego, California, and has worked on IVN as a writer and editor. He has also worked on a number of local campaigns including SDSU West, Measures K & L, and other campaigns.

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