Is COVID-19 a call for ‘reset button’ by nature: A Optimistic Viewpoint

Since the first case reported on 13th January 2020 about the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-2019), which infected 972,640 people across 207 countries confirming 50,325 deaths as on 4th April 2020 [1], the whole world is undergoing a dreadful unexpected experience. More than half of the world cities under lockdown state are fighting against this very contagious pandemic. For most of the individuals, it came out of a surprise from nowhere., changing their everyday walk of life by restricting themselves to their homes for more a month. Not just the people in terms of their work-life and social life, but governments, corporates, and institutions got miscued in their functions. Undoubtedly, the present case is alarming and requires lockdown & social distancing to acquire the status back to normal; at the same time, there are many lessons one can learn. The question is, this sudden & unexpected change in the lives caused a panic situation or a much-needed reset button.

According to Nauriel Roubini, a Professor of Economics, Corona is much severe and unprecedented in terms of speed, depth, and global spread effect [2]. It is like an asteroid hitting the planet. It is much worse than the Economic Recession of 2008 and the Great Depression of 1932-33. When compared to Recession and the Great Depression, this pandemic is fast, i.e., its effect started showing in less than a week of its identification. It has impacted almost all the countries at the same time. And its impact is on all economic activities like consumption, investment, production, retail sales, capital spending, and stock market collapse in just less than a month. The expectation is that it takes at least a year for these economic activities to recover. Every citizen is fighting against an unseen enemy. It is maybe the first time the whole world is fighting together against an unforeseen disease.

It is evident from statistics that some of the very developed and sophisticated health care systems and countries could not anticipate and handle this pandemic. It is maybe just because of its speed and depth of the virus to spread. Alongside, tipping the iceberg, there is no vaccine yet. According to the Economic Times [3], COVID-19 has created panic across the globe and shaken the confidence of the investors. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has projected a fall in the global gross domestic product by half for this year 2020 [4] is due to the Coronavirus. Crude oil prices have also hit forcing major giants to cutoff their production to support crude prices as there is less demand for fuel due to less travel and transport. The financial sector is no exemption, and instead, it is the first victim of the Corona. Stock market crashed an all-time historic fall down just within a week [5]. Banks and financial institutions are taking evasive steps to control the crisis. The World Bank estimates almost 24 million people in East Asia & the Pacific will not be able to escape poverty due to the financial impact of the Corona [6]. Consequentially, hit by the outbreak, the USA cut 701 thousand jobs in March, increasing the unemployment rate by 4.4% [7]. In short, there is no sector or country or government that is left alone not being affected by this deadly contagious disease, causing tough times for every individual on the globe.

On the one hand, there are extreme repercussions of the COVID-19 for a couple of months concerning lockdown, financial crisis, stock market crash, and hundreds of deaths, of which deaths are irreversible while other concerns can be recovered sooner or later. On the other hand, there are reasonably positive consequences we can smile upon. It is mother nature that taking a front seat for a jolly ride. Many countries have reported the nature which is moving back into empty spaces left by the dreadful virus. Flora and fauna are having a good time with less tourists, pollution, and intervention in their lives. The ever-busy waterways of Venice now seen crystal clear and witnessing fishes swimming. In Europe, some countries like Spain and Italy, the empty streets are vacation destinations for animals [8]. It is observed that animal habitat is enjoying the tourism of a lifetime in most places. It is like the mother nature restoring its original space. Not only the animals, but the environment has also been positively affected by the pandemic. It is reported that in New York, pollution has reduced by 50%, and in China, the emission rate had fallen to 25% compared with the start of the year [9]. In Europe and UK, the fading of Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emission is observed. Similar stats of reduced air pollution are reported in many countries. People across the globe have become health-conscious. They started understanding the importance of social distancing. The culture of being hygienic is taking paramount. Many states have announced and following lockdown, allowing families to stay at home. Lockdown is providing many busy employees to spend some time with family by taking a break from their desk work, though some of them are still working from home. Though this epidemic Corona has a little beneficial edge, the point that this dreadful disease is taking thousands of lives cannot be ignored. It is a war where every individual of the earth has to fight together. 

This COVID-19 has taught us lessons in many ways. It also warns us that anything can come up from anywhere to challenge human capabilities, preparedness, and technology. It is evident from this virus attack that neither our technology nor predictive readiness sometimes cannot counter the nature attacks. Like many others, somehow, I also believe that our human negligence towards protecting nature is the consequence in the form of this virus. And this would continue to happen and surprise us if we do not learn from our mistakes and suffering. When this forced and unprepared global lockdown for almost two months has positive effects in terms of environment, nature, culture, and habits, why on an optimistic note we continue to do this global lockdown every year. It may sound amusing and impractical idea. However, a well-planned and consensus global lockdown for at least a month a year would help us in many ways. Just think about restoring nature, health, culture, and the environment by doing so. Reducing pollution, leaving a healthy and well-planned family vacation at home for a month. The whole globe functioning for only eleven months and leave one month for the restoration. All the countries together in consensus agree to lockdown for a month at the same time can be a good beneficial prospect. If this feels to be practically impossible, then I guess we would have to do it forcefully commanded by the mother nature once again, as we are doing now. Looking at the need and being optimistic, our lives need a ‘reset’ button, which is well planned and prepared, minus the human loss. We are too busy running towards nowhere; this much-needed refresh key would allow us to rethink, restore, recreate, and live a meaningful life for a better future. Maybe we can avoid these thousands of deaths in the future by clicking a reset button.

 

References:

  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
  2. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/introducing-world-economic-forum-podcast/
  3. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/invest/stock-market-hit-by-coronavirus-reasons-for-turmoil-what-equity-investors-should-do-now/articleshow/74623291.cms?from=mdr
  4. https://data.oecd.org/gdp/gross-domestic-product-gdp.htm
  5. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51753142
  6. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52103666
  7. https://abcnews.go.com/Business/us-cuts-701k-jobs-march-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/story?id=69955931
  8. https://interestingengineering.com/7-ways-the-coronavirus-is-affecting-the-environment
  9. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200326-covid-19-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-the-environment