If there is anything we are all talking about right now, it is the coronavirus pandemic.
A strange kind of pneumonia virus that had broken all headlines in Wuhan, China in December, is now every country’s topmost concern. We are at a time where the entire civilized world is under lockdown and a government-imposed state of quarantine for the well being of all people. We are being constantly reminded to maintain basic hygiene measures, social distancing, regularly washing our hands and staying home even if we are feeling under the weather.
While all this is still new and each hour by the day is brewing fresh content about the coronavirus global pandemic situation, I cannot stop wondering the time we have brought upon ourselves.
In all my schooling years, all I learned in history was the hunger of the world economies to stock up on nuclear power weapons. It seemed like the only way the governments knew to protect its people was through spending on warfare and military. And this has been true for such a long time and with such normalcy, that the fear of life being wiped off from the face of the earth, due to chemical warfare became an acceptable reality of the future.
And here we are today! Amid a virus epidemic that is spreading even faster than wildfire. We are fighting a virus that is present right here, right now, around us and we can’t even see it or rather are completely unequipped to deal with it.
Now, many of us are unhappy about quarantining ourselves at home. We do understand that this measure is for our safety but being compelled by the human tendency to complain and fret, this is proving to be hard for many of us who are dealing with “boredom” despite the ample luxuries we have access to in our daily lives. Moreover, this boredom is nothing compared to the challenges the doctors, medical staff, grocers and all those are trying to keep the economies alive are dealing with, let alone those who are impacted by the virus. It’s also unfortunate to be impacted financially due to pay cuts, and for the small local businesses who are coping with this sudden shutdown. As a result, the economy is also suffering one of its worst blows and we are terrified of how long this is destined to last.
But looking at the brighter side, I cannot stop thinking of the blessings, the coronavirus quarantine has brought along with it. Well, for starters lets take a step back and acknowledge that:
- we are not in the middle of a nuclear war or World War III as predicted. Nor are we living even 1 % of the trials our forefathers did in their times. All we are being asked is to take rest, eat well, stay hygienic and binge-watch television. How difficult is that?
- a majority of us are being asked rather enforced by our employers to work from home, something that has been an ordeal for people commuting long hours or those who juggle between professional and family commitments.
- families are spending more time than ever which is like a dream for us in a busy “modern” world.
- we have the opportunity to keep ourselves positively occupied by reading more, spending time with our pets or even pursuing a hobby.
- people are coming together through music, compassion, and empathy which was almost on the brink of extinction.
- I have never seen more than 300 animals leave one of our local shelters in just 3 days, as people stepped up to foster, rescue and adopt.
- restaurants, schools and the entertainment industry like Netflix and Disney are trying to go above and beyond to make sure that the people are comfortable as they quarantine themselves.
- and besides the many other eye-opening grateful experiences people are having every day, let’s not forget that the Earth is healing and animals are immune to this virus. And this, by far, is my favorite.
We cannot deny that we have been eating our way into self-destruction and like many other virus outbreaks, this one too is an outcome of the wildlife trade that has been legally functioning in Wuhan, China for years. It is beyond my absolute understanding that in a civilized world like today, we need to feed ourselves on the tortured factory farm animals and those that are being smuggled in from the wild. It is heartbreaking to witness the deplorable conditions that these animals have to live in for the sake of human appetite. And it is only our greed for insatiable hunger and power that has blinded us against our own conscience.
We are aware of the alarming rate of global warming, polluted waterways and extinct wildlife caused by us, humans and our uncontrollable rampant on the Earth. Even though scientists and researchers screamed their throats dry, alarming us of the consequences, we managed to comfort us by the idea that the end of the world was inevitable. But just three months of quarantine in China and a month in Italy and it looks like Mother Earth began to breathe.
For years China has been engulfed in harmful emissions and it only took a few months of quarantine to clear off the skies.
On the other hand, Italy has been rocking the news with its clear water canals that are finally exempted from the boat and human traffic. People are amazed and are reconsidering if the Cornovirus outbreak is indeed a blessing in disguise.
The canals of Venice was so polluted that it was nothing other than a murky green water bed. It took many activists and conservationists to get the situation under control but what it looks like now, this place just needed a break from people before it started to thrive with life again.
Even places like Japan and Thailand have been in awe witnessing how deers from the nearby Nara park (Japan) and starving monkeys (of Thailand) have taken to the streets. I am sure they must be equally amused with the drastic absence of human footprints and in some cases human threats too.
Nonetheless, the coronavirus outbreak is a loud and clear alarm that wants us to wake up and see what we have been doing to our only home. It is so obvious that our planet was doing just fine way before we humans evolved and turned it into a ground zero of chaos.
As wildlife gradually returns to its normalcy, skies clear up and “life” in plenty returns to its original habitat, I cannot help but think if the need of the hour is to contain the virus or to contain us, the people who are the substansive reason behind this pandemic.
On the other hand, over these last few weeks, it’s been splendid to see how humans have bonded beyond mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Neighbors who hardly knew each other are bonding through music and symphonies. And although plenty of memes are going viral to lighten up the situation, could we ever imagine our world like this? I mean this is Utopia. Don’t you think so?
I understand that the quarantine and the pandemic situation will need a long time to halt with serious implications on our economies. It may even worsen the situation for places with inadequate medical systems and for thousands of people who have no access to even basic healthcare facilities. And no matter how loud the news channels blare asking us to stay under quarantine and quit hoarding, there will be a special group of people, who would not get the seriousness of this message and continue to add more havoc.
But for those of us, who can maintain sanity and can be friends with reasoning, let’s consider this as an opportune moment to take a deeper look at the actions we have taken and improvise on them. After all, in an age, where we could care any less, we are learning to come together and practice common sense, empathy, and gratitude in one spirit.
It is only because this virus was bold enough to cross borders, we have understood the essence of acting as global citizens and the need to support and pray together. So, if we can appreciate our life, our coexisting species and help each other in our own best ways in such times of trial, I believe that we can churn out so much good out of this “misfortune” that has deemed upon us.
So, let us have faith in the system of life, panic less and believe that given a chance this will get over only for the better days to come.