Covid-19: Boon for Nature, Bane for Humanity
You’ve read about it, you’ve heard about it, the people sitting next to you are probably having a conversation about it. Hand sanitizers are going out of stock, masks are being sold at outrageous prices, Australia has toilet paper shortage and people are panic buying everyday supplies. I sit down to watch the news. Schools and colleges are closing down, so are the theatres and other public places, conferences are being cancelled, the NBA has been suspended and IPL postponed. As deliberations are made over matters of Tokyo Olympics and WHO declares it a pandemic and Trump a national emergency, I wonder where was this support in times of Ebola and SARS? Is this only being given the coverage and importance it is because it is impacting North America and Europe instead of only Africa and Asia? Has this become a world issue with such promptness because it has affected Tom Hanks and Sophie Trudeau instead of countless and nameless children in third world countries?
Nevertheless, I’ll give it the Coronavirus the credit it deserves.
Factories are being shut down, flights have been extensively cancelled, travel is being discouraged and hygiene has become the topmost priority. If not for humans, this virus will definitely do wonders for nature, finally giving it some break that we didn’t, even when the Amazon burned for days and the Australian bush fires went on and on.
And finally, for once, nobody is fighting over religion and trade policies because finally, we’re viewing something like a common enemy, waging war against a common cause. Which makes me wonder why we cannot do the same for climate change which really is the bigger common enemy and has been around for years now, relegated to the sidelines by world leaders simply because unlike coronavirus its symptoms and effects aren’t that apparent as of now but will be much greater and colossal in the coming decades.
Still, many countries and organizations are doing their bit to help.
The government of Kerala has started delivering groceries and has asked technology companies to augment broadband internet strength since thousands of people are expected to be under home quarantine. In addition to this, they are also home-delivering the mid-day meals for the children who are missing out on the same since schools have been shut down.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made a commitment to develop
Covid-19 testing kits and is expected to partner up with Amazon Care to help distribute them.
Canada has set up a billion-dollar fund to deal with its impact and support further research where several Ed-tech firms in India and outside too are offering free online courses amidst school shutdowns. The capital city of Rwanda, Kigali, has mandated that everyone wash their hands before boarding public transportation and has set up multiples portable wash basins around the bus station for commuters to use. A Covid-19 Mutual Aid Network has been formed in the UK and Eighty-seven groups have been formed across the country to offer practical support for those in self-isolation, as well as phone calls. Volunteers are organising WhatsApp and Facebook groups, and are holding meetings online alongside distributing flyers in the street.
Ironically, this virus that threatens human life may also play a part in saving it other indirect ways. After years of urging its terrorists to attack major European cities, even ISIS is now telling them to steer clear due to the coronavirus
But what about the less fortunate?
Many firms have now issued a notice for their employees to work from home. The question that now remains is what about the ones who cannot afford to do so? What about the people who cannot afford to stock up on food supplies? What about those who cannot afford three square meals a day? How will they deal with the situation when they are without proper sanitation and shelter? My mother says they will probably deal with it as they do with everyday illnesses, for they’ve watched children die from diarrhoea, diseases that can easily be cured but aren’t simply because of their lack of resource.
There are so many questions that surround us today regarding this health crisis. There is confusion and there is panic. It is in times like these, in sickness, that we realise that at the core no matter how powerful and rich, we’re all human. Yet still, there is no doubt that the rich and powerful will still be better off, they will be still more likely to make it. So if you are one of them, acknowledge your privilege and use it to make the lesser privileged more aware and more informed. Help them in any way you can because it was the European countries who looked down upon war-stricken refugees from Asia and African until yesterday when today the same fate comes upon the Italians and other Europeans. Until yesterday, these poor immigrants were supposed to have brought in the diseases whereas today it is the rich returning from their holidays and business trips who are the image of sickness.