Humanity in times of Corona

Positive takeaways from the hysteria surrounding COVID-19

First and foremost, our hearts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones, and children who have lost parents due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Our thoughts also go out to folks who are still battling the virus. We wish you a quick recovery.

2020 is such an overachiever. There hasn’t been a society disruption of this scale and magnitude since world war II. As I write this piece, the Mayor of San Francisco has ordered a “shelter in place”, which means stay at home and only go out for essentials such as food or medicine. The situation is evolving and changing each day and we are not sure how tomorrow will look like. Obviously, there is a huge physical, mental and emotional stress— on many citizens of this city and around the world. The pandemic has become a social justice issue as much as it is a biological issue.

A lot has been written and said about the coronavirus pandemic. There is a long list of famous people who tested positive on COVID-19. Life is edging towards a standstill. Air travel, schools, and graduation ceremonies are canceled. People are fist fighting over toilet paper, and yes the economy is headed toward a recession [at best] -a depression [at worst].

Countries like Italy, have been hit the hardest, and have ordered a federal lockdown, where citizens must stay indoors until further notice. Here in California where I live, those that are 65 and older are most vulnerable to #COVIDー19 and must practice home isolation. Bars, night clubs, wineries, and breweries must close in the whole of California. Only allowing essential services like hospitals, pharmacies, and law enforcement to remain open. Restaurants — should focus on takeout for those isolating. Maximize social distancing.

“We must protect our most vulnerable to #COVIDー19 and ensure essential parts of our society can keep functioning like: – our healthcare system – grocery stores – pharmacies – social service providers.” Gavin Newsom, Governor State of California.

All this to say, the situation is still fluid and no one knows what next week or next month will look like. All we know is that we must stay vigilant and practice social distancing as much as we can.

If you are like me at all, staying at home, calls for following the news, watching movies, youtube videos and lots of TEDtalks. To that end, I came across this eerie TEDtalk, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates where he tried to warn us, calling out a moment like this five years ago – it’s very prophetic and uncomfortable to listen to – given the times we are living it in right now.

Furthermore, fear is one hell of a clickbait. Wild stories, theories, and misinformation are making the rounds on the wild web. Things like how eating garlic, drinking bleach, snotting cocaine and even masturbation can cure COVID-19. Ok, that’s just crazy!! But, we gotta give some credit to whoever came up with the last one, it may not cure the “RONA” but could help with social distancing, just saying hehe. There is even a false theory going around that 5G causes COVID19 – there is no basis for this or any of the other theories.

Although life appears to be on a standstill due to the cancellations of almost everything, and the stock market is on its knees, for this piece, I would like to look at life from a different perspective. I would like to explore and look for that glimmer of light and focus on the positive effects of COVID-19.

If anything positive come out of this pandemic, it has reminded us of our shared humanity, connectedness and vulnerabilities. Here are the few positive reminders from this experience.

1. We are all humans, we all cry tears and we all bleed red.

COVID-19 does not discriminate on the basis of social or economic status, race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, and marital status. Given the extreme open xenophobia, nationalism, borders, and othering that’s been sweeping the world in the past 5 years. Its a refreshing reminder to all of us that we are all humans seeking safety and security for our selves and our loved ones.

2. When health is affected, all systems breakdown especially the fragile and vulnerable ones that depend on a healthy productive population

COVID-19 has highlighted our vulnerabilities on a systems level. It has reminded us about the importance of healthcare for all, giving employment rights and generous sick pay to insecure workers too frightened and too poor to take time off.

A very special thank you to law enforcement, farmers, first responders, health care workers, delivery employees who continue to work tirelessly through it all.

3. The interconnected nature of our world.
COVID-19 has reminded us that we need to take care of our planet and each other because we are interdependent. When “one part of the world coughs the whole world catches a cold” [pun intended].
Today, all over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way. All over the world, people are waking up to a new reality. How big we really are, how little control we really have, and what really matters.

4. With a global decline in birth rates, forced hibernation can be a good thing

With innovation in medicine, lifestyle and healthy habits, humans are living longer today than the previous generations. That’s good news. Unfortunately, the global fertility rates are in a dramatic decline, which is leading to a birth rate decline.
The good news for the health of world population growth is: COVID-19 shelter in place and lockdowns worldwide, baby-bearing age adults are in hibernation. Perhaps we might expect a surge of “corona babies” come December /January. We can call them “Generation Coronials.”

5. For a hot second, the planet is able to breathe again

By NASA researchers

The majority of the scientific community agrees that humans activities are a major contributor to emissions and the global warming epidemic.
With COVID-19 forced lockdowns worldwide, and limited productivity in big industries like transportation, textile factories, etc there will be a positive effect on upward emissions trajectory. I am pretty sure the planet is happy to breathe again. Personally, I am particularly very interested to see data for the month of March 2020 and how it has affected the curve on the graph above.

Thanks for indulging in the article. Please stay safe, and I wish you the best of health during these trying times.
I leave you with the words of author Kitty O’Meara, which ring true and capture the gravity of the moment with grace:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
~Kitty O’Meara

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