Finding the Positive in the Coronavirus Outbreak


The spring flowers still continue to bloom. Photo By: Mark Harris

It seems like all we hear and read in the news nowadays is the updates on the coronavirus and how to deal with it.

As of April 8, there were 1,353,361 confirmed cases and 79,235 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

Despite these grim statistics, however, there are some positive effects that have come with the stay-at-home orders. 

One of the biggest is an increase in hygiene. Since washing your hands well is one way to keep yourself healthy and protected from the virus, there has been an increase in better hygiene. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO, and government officials are all reminding people to wash their hands and inform citizens how to do it properly. Even celebrities like actor (and former Bethlehem native) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney have gotten involved, using their status to spread the word.

Furthermore, the CDC and WHO have advised people to stop touching their faces since the eyes, mouth, and nose are easy access points for the virus. 

There have been memes and other jokes about this, but the effect is the same as celebrities spreading word about proper hand washing technique. Everyone, myself included, has been noticing how much they touch their face and are trying to do it less often. 

Another positive effect of the coronavirus outbreak is an increase in goodwill and kindness. These acts of kindness vary in size from small to big and can be seen almost everywhere. For example, many stores have dedicated a few hours each day or week for the elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised to shop. 

Celebrities, colleges and universities, and businesses are donating surgical masks to hospitals and healthcare workers to protect them while they’re at work. People have also been making masks out of fabric and other materials to donate in lieu of surgical masks. 

Many celebrities have also donated some of their wealth for coronavirus relief efforts, potentially including a vaccination and cure. 

Social media sites like Twitter and TikTok have been full of smaller acts of kindness. 

These include chalk drawings on the sidewalk to brighten people’s day as they take a walk around the neighborhood, young, healthy people shopping for essentials for those more at risk for the virus, neighborhoods gathering six feet apart to sing happy birthday to community members, shopping at small businesses instead of chain stores, and much more. 

Finally, the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home orders have had a positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions. Pope Francis has even gone as far as calling the coronavirus pandemic “nature’s response” to climate change. 

Emissions from cars, trucks, and planes have decreased in many places, including the United States and Italy, due to stay-at-home orders. In China, coronavirus containment measures caused carbon emissions to drop 25 percent in February alone. Venice, Italy’s Grand Canal has clean water in it since there is significantly less boat traffic. 

Additionally, people are seeing wildlife, such as birds and deer, reappear in areas normally populated by humans. The big question, however, is whether this pandemic will have a positive or negative effect on climate once it is over. 

In the words of Albus Dumbledore, “happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I know we’re living in a difficult and scary time, but we can get through this. Stay safe, healthy, and positive!