The good of COVID 19 
When faced with an overwhelming concern—now the COVID 19 pandemic—I look for the silver lining. In the face of realistic fears—economic fallout, hospitals overcrowded and short of supplies, health care workers at risk, and, I believe, the less serious fear of dying—here are silver linings I see coming with the COVID 19 pandemic.

I’m not a scientist but it occurred to me that worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases must have dropped drastically, mostly by a drop in air travel. Going online, I learned my guess was right. It’s estimated that China, the worst emitter of carbon, experienced a 25% cut in emissions. The 2008 recession also drove down emissions. Some of this good effect will be offset by increased home energy use.

I’m hoping physical scientists, social scientists, and political scientists will learn some things from this lurch in world affairs, ways to help the world fight climate change and other threats to the planet’s inhabitants.

Another silver lining from COVID 19 is that it muted political campaigns—thank heavens!  No more screaming rallies, no more fund-raising at expensive events, no more crowding people together to create energy, no more daily assessing of who's ahead, no more wall-to-wall coverage of politics.
Instead, news programs are devoted to tamping down anxiety and helping everyone cope with COVID 19. And most miraculous of all—Republicans and Democrats are more united in working together on this common cause.

Social distancing, as I’ve experienced it, actually results in more social outreach. I see and hear people showing more care for each other. How refreshing!

This is happening around the world, a small miracle in itself. The world seems to be growing closer. Governments, like people everywhere, can’t avoid seeing that we’re all in this together, that what’s good for one is good for all. It must be getting increasingly obvious that “American first” and “go it alone” simply don’t work in a pandemic.
     I need to add a sour note, though. Tensions are increasing between Iran—a hotspot of the virus—and the U.S., which refuses to let up on economic sanctions.

I admit I’m more fortunate than most in being a recipient of Medicare and social security and also able to care for myself. I’m not wondering how to cover bills and feed a family without an income.
The administration’s idea of sending $1000 to every adult wouldn’t begin to take care of a family that needs more than $1000 just to cover rent or a mortgage. And unemployment checks don’t go out to artists and other free-lance workers, whose source of income also can dry up.

So I understand the anxiety of others, knowing it’s easier for me to count blessings, but I offer a few more. From my writers group comes this reminder of another blessing—“people may discover how to cook, again, and to conserve supplies."

If we compare our situation to the pandemic of 1918 that killed 50 to 100 million people, we can see how technology helps us to cope better today by connecting us in ways not dreamed of in 1918.

Not only do we have incomparably better communications and medical technology, our ability to socialize with each other is incomparably improved. Although telephones started to connect many before 1918, they did not allow long long conversations of the kind I like to have. People were much more isolated in their concerns and suffering.

With the whole world on the “same page,” COVID 19 is actually bringing social harmony! For me, this means not more anxiety but less anxiety. I wish the same for all, but I understand that it’s impossible for many less fortunate than I am. They will have to work harder to see any silver linings.


Cory Schlangen said…
Spot on Jeanette. I always enjoy your posts. Cory

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