Something Good in the Time of Our First Modern Pandemic
Something dawned on me the other day. Besides the beautiful irony of the fact that our environment is breathing for the first time in many decades, there is something else to be grateful for during these scary, pandemic-ridden times.
At many points last year and even at the beginning of 2020, there was a real fear in most nations of being on the brink of World War 3. And in America, specifically, the absurd reality that people were inciting a new #CivilWar due to political infighting made the climate of these modern times unbearably stifled. Hate crimes, fear of nuclear proliferation, biochemical and technological warfare and rigged elections were ubiquitous. The tension was palpable in the air, seemingly everywhere.
How things change.
Suddenly, the entire world shifted. When the Covid-19 pandemic took over global headlines and cities began to lock down their humans, manufacturing, production and GDP’s slowed to a stutter. In its place, a new influx of industry, one where manufacturers of items like luxury perfumes, cotton t-shirts and even cars shifted gears, just like that. These businesses stepped up and began to use their brightest minds and resources to figure out how to manufacture desperately needed medical equipment and supplies, including hand sanitizer, ventilators and masks. Medical research labs got to work continually bettering the amount of available tests and speeding up results in suspected coronavirus cases. Armed Forces vessels are being repurposed as floating hospitals. Everyday citizens are acquiring digital printers and have learned how to sew to help make medical supplies to donate to hospitals.
Not only that, but some people have learned their neighbors names. They started checking in on one another. Families started to video conference with each another, bringing levity to what would normally be a day of business calls. Parents are spending more time at home with their kids, and appreciating their kids’ teachers even more than they previously did. Some people are planting gardens and learning how to grow fruits and vegetables.
Make no mistake, this essay isn’t about putting a rosy spin on a historic and tragic moment in humanity. We don’t know when or how it’s going to end, and we already know we are already forever changed. There is no way to sugar-coat that. I couldn’t help but share, however, a thought that brought me a moment of gratitude in the midst of all the headlines today.
I am so glad that instead of producing more mass weapons of war, or sending youth to active duty, or reinstating the draft, or cutting more money from desperately needed programs for nefarious reasons, humanity and industry are instead pooling their collective efforts for relief. Working towards a cure, clinical trials, palliative treatments, preventative treatments. Connective treatments. Socially-distanced healing portals have been opened, at a time when we need them more than ever. Our planet’s environment is rebounding. We are relying on our technology to allow us to travel and to connect with one another without leaving our houses, instead of distancing us when we are physically standing right next to each other. We are being forced to use the extra time that we have on our hands that would normally be spent outside of the house on our own self-reflection and completion of infinitely long to-do lists and creative projects.
No matter how the end of this story will be written, today I am grateful that these collective efforts are being used not on each other, but instead on a common enemy of humanity: the novel coronavirus. If #WW3 turns out to be one that we win against Covid19, it might become my favorite war tale yet.
Remember that kindness is also contagious. We are in this together.