The Upside of COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 has impinged on the world in so many ways within a few months; cases of the virus surpassed two million, people are increasingly becoming jobless, and students worldwide are facing difficulties adapting to rapid changes in our social life and academics. Amidst these detrimental effects of the coronavirus, the news press and social media have a major role in highlighting precaution and updating the death tolls, creating mass hysteria and unrelenting bleakness among the public. But what often isn’t mentioned is the positive impacts of the coronavirus both socially and environmentally on the world.

Finally Clean Air

NASA showing significant decrease in NO2 in China

The most discernible side effect of COVID-19 is the drastic improvement in the environment. With less travelling and industries, there became less pollution in the air as well as noise pollution. Some Paris residents shared with the world that they could finally spot the Eiffel Tower from their apartment; a family of sea otters appeared in Merlion park due to less tourists, which is often rare.

Worldwide, the emissions of harmful gasses caused by vehicles and industrial production lowered significantly. According to BBC, carbon monoxide produced by cars has been reduced by nearly 50% in the regularly jam-packed New York. Additionally, places that initially were hit by coronavirus the hardest like China and Europe, experienced prominent improvement in their climate. While northern Italy experienced a 40% decrease in NO2 levels, NASA reported that while China is one of the largest industrial countries, they also decreased their N02 levels by a substantial amount.

What I think will come out of this is a realisation – because we are forced to – that there is considerable potential to change working practices and lifestyles. This challenges us in the future to think, do we really need to drive our car there or burn fuel for that.

Paul Monks, professor of air pollution at the University of LeicesteR

While the issue of pollution and global warming had always been implanted in us, there weren’t evident changes as the world is heavily reliant on industrial productivity and people are constantly travelling; however, by actually experiencing the outcome of less pollution, we now know that reducing these activities by even a few months can make a drastic change in the environment. Maybe the coronavirus was a way of earth asking for help.

Increased Gratitude and Realisations

As the world suffers the destructive effects of coronavirus, people worldwide are spreading positivity through social media. With this, gratitude for medical workers and scientists who are fighting incredibly hard against this virus is growing. For instance, people in Wuhan, Europe, and Singapore have thanked medical workers by planning an event in which they clapped outside their windows together. In addition, us students are beginning to realise the things we took for granted in our everyday lives as we are quarantined.

I feel like we took things for granted before the virus, and only now we are realising how grateful we are for good health, family, and friends. They were just a given, so it was hard for us to see its importance and how big their absence is. I miss even small things like going to Starbucks to study.

Alexandra Fu, junior at sas

You don’t know how important something is until it’s gone. It’s my last year of school with my friends and we can’t experience it together. I’ve always loved them, but by not being able to see them, I realised how big of a part of my life they are.

nicole han, senior at sas

It is undeniable that COVID-19 has been inimical to our lives, but this is a time when positivity is most needed among people. We’re too busy reading articles and government updates, that we don’t have time to appreciate the positive changes around us. Hopefully, the world learns from the upsides of the coronavirus and continues to develop both socially and environmentally even after the cure is found.

Author: Yoony Kim

Yoony Kim is currently a junior and this is her first year working for The Eye. She was born in South Korea, but has been living in Singapore since she was 4 years old. Yoony has been rewatching Brooklyn 99 on Netflix for years now, and doesn't think she will be stopping anytime soon. Yoony's favorite thing in Singapore is bubble tea from Koi!! She can be reached at kim35528@sas.edu.sg.

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