Human lives have been undergoing profound shifts for the last six months due to Covid-19. Almost all sectors from business to education to sports, economy, and healthcare have been hard hit by the pandemic. However, as the coronavirus outbreak is still in full swing, it may be a good idea to search for positivity out of this cloud of darkness instead of wallowing in negativity.
Every cloud has a silver lining; so does Covid-19. Out of myriads of gifts that coronavirus offers us, one very remarkable aspect is time - one of the most precious things of life. The list of people complaining about not having sufficient time for family is as long as the Nile.
Before Covid-19, we used to stack our calendar full of schedules, while engrossing in social gatherings and entertainment; irrespective of necessity or importance. Going shopping and attending theatres, malls, travelling, bars, festivals, birthdays, gym, and concerts were a common feature for many of us.
But the epidemic has turned everything upside down, forcing countries to stop businesses, entertainment centres, and tourist spots. This, as a result, has made us realise how easy it is to clear out our schedules and devote quality time to near and dear ones. Nothing other than the coronavirus could get us to notice how to put official stress aside and find time for those we love.
Another positive aspect is that the global pandemic has exposed us to technology. Although this is the age of technological advancements, not all Bangladeshi citizens seem to be adroit in making the full use of technology. Many elderly people prefer to read books as well as newspapers, for example, but are not allowed to go out now thus, being compelled to read via online sources. Even if our country's younger generation is used to online shopping, very few elderly people find it comfortable but are learning via necessity.
In addition to the above-mentioned aspect, taking the situation into account, they also turned tech-savvy. No guardian wanted their children to procrastinate when schools introduced online teaching. Consequently, parents were seen to take the key role in connecting their children to online classes when some schools shifted to remote teaching a few months back.
This, on one hand, allowed parents, together, with many elderly people, to overcome their fear in using technological devices efficiently and on the other hand, enabled them to discover a galaxy of bright sides to technology which might help them to stimulate the growth of their children even in the post-pandemic period.
Is the environment livable? Environmentalists have long been warning us that there is a lot to do to make our environment livable but regrettably, no one cared. Leaders are not much worried about climate change and other calamities. The rise of pollutants and carbon dioxide emissions have been constantly making this world a threatening place to live.
Nevertheless, the coronavirus has brought about a ray of hope for humanity. According to a study released in Springer Nature (Switzerland) on September 5, 2020, Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and Sulfur dioxide (SO2 ) have dropped by 69 percent and 67 percent respectively in Dhaka owing to lockdowns. It also demonstrates that the average SO2 and NO2 concentrations decreased by 43 percent and 40 percent in the entire country due to full and partial lockdown in Bangladesh.
The global CO2 emissions have plummeted by roughly 5.5 percent, according to the climate website Carbon Brief. This year has recorded the highest yearly change in carbon dioxide emission, beating the 2008 financial crisis and World War II.
Besides, the air quality of one of the most crowded cities in the world - Dhaka, has improved significantly. According to a report published in the UNB, Dhaka was ranked the 47th worst in the Air Quality Index (AQI). Dhaka has had an AQI score of 44 and its air quality was categorised satisfactory though it used to be ranked among the top ten worst cities in the Air Quality Index and this has resulted from the shutdown of schools, colleges, universities, factories, and vehicles.
Hence, coronavirus has presented us with cleaner and greener air resulting in fresher air to breathe.
Most remarkably, coronavirus has provided us with a sense of innovation and discoveries. Leaders around the world have been compelled to figure out alternative means of work and meetings to keep their companies moving. Work from home would perhaps never have been possible in normal circumstances if a nationwide lockdown was not imposed.
Several CEOs find it hard to trust their co-workers when it comes to working from home yet the months-long lockdown has led them to discover a different way of working, collaborating, and building trust in employees. They are now capable of accomplishing meetings and all other official activities online which could benefit the employees in the long run even in the post-Covid era, if they unexpectedly fall sick or get into abrupt trouble while commuting to the office, for instance.
Last but not the least, Covid-19 brings us all to our senses enabling us to reflect and reconsider what we do, how we do, and why we do it. People tend to be so busy climbing higher and higher on their selfish desires and material gains and caring less about one another. Killing, destruction, wars, anarchy, and poverty are soaring every day across the world, so is the arrogance and barbarity in humanity. Covid-19, however, has emerged to bring a halt to all of this. Nothing could combat the rate of crimes, corruption, and conflicts between countries except Covid-19.
People committing continuous crimes and making endless corruption perhaps consider themselves omnipotent and that none can stop them. But one simple invisible virus has defeated the entire human race, stopping everything, such as the planes, cruises, factories, and a lot more, which in turn has left us all with no choice.
It serves as an eye-opener for humanity around the world. It has offered us an opportunity to reconnect to God, reflect what we were doing, refine ourselves, and reconsider what we were doing. Thus, it teaches us to be kind, compassionate, resilient, and put our arrogance aside.
In essence, it is beyond doubt that Covid-19 has numerous demerits, and yet, as outlined above, it offers some upsides as well. Since the coronavirus is yet to slow down and is predicted not to end anytime soon, bearing an optimistic mindset could substantially help us get rid of stress in these challenging times.
If we keep looking up to the brighter sides of life amidst this difficult time, the longer the pandemic lasts, the larger the opportunities turn out to be and the bigger the chances are of making actual changes to our lives, which results in making the world a far better place to live.
Mahde Hassan works as a faculty member of IELTS at Saifur's Private Ltd. He can be reached at [email protected].