The Silver Lining of the COVID-19 Cloud

First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the worst things that has happened in years. Thousands have died, many industries have closed, companies have filed for bankruptcy, and like our dear Hotchkiss, almost all schools are closed. Ahead are still times of uncertainty and danger, as governments spend billions (or in some cases, trillions) on bail out packages and aid. With the situation still looking bad, it is understandable for people to experience stress and panic. But as the wise Forrest Gump of Green Bowl, Alabama said, “It happens.” 

No matter how desperate the current situation may seem, it is actually filled to the brim with opportunities. The clearest positive change we have seen so far has been for the environment. Restaurants and workplaces shutting down and an emphasis on self-quarantining has greatly reduced carbon emissions from vehicles and factories. The most notable cause of this change is the massive decline in air traffic. In Hanoi, Vietnam, the Air Quality Index (a number used by the government to inform people about air quality—the lower the number, the better.) dropped from nearly 200 down to just 53 in just two weeks after the whole country was put on lockdown. 

The second opportunity is that the coronavirus forces people to be creative and adapt to the situation. To survive, people have had to be inventive in different arrays of life; for example, athletes are coming up with at-home workouts, and families are working to make masks from paper towels. The pandemic has allowed people to test out new ideas, as organizational operations are not in full swing.

The third and final opportunity is that COVID-19 provides everybody with an unique opportunity to build bonds with people and develop a better understanding of the world. The pandemic provides us with more time to spend with our families and loved ones (with whom we are currently quarantining). It creates more time for us to bond and understand one another thoroughly, an opportunity that previously was difficult, due to packed agendas, unreasonable bosses, and tons of schoolwork. It is a time to appreciate the interconnectedness of the human race, an idea with which we have grown complacent to. In Italy, videos of people standing from their balconies singing have gone viral. This kind of grassroots community event shows a “we’re in this together” mentality, which unifies people and serves as a crucial reminder of what holds us together. 

In the seemingly long ago era before COVID-19, division and strife rampaged throughout the world. For all the terrible consequences the disease brings, we cannot forget to appreciate the beautiful ideal that we once took for granted – that we are all human.