The Better Side of the Coronavirus

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Beyond Borders Gazette

The Coronavirus has taken the world by storm, upturning lives and shutting down entire countries. The devastation of the pandemic has spanned across nations and boundaries, killing thousands of people, and these numbers rise everyday. High School State tournaments were cancelled, schools were closed, and people are now ordered to stay in their houses unless they absolutely have to leave. It would seem that all you hear these days is negative, and it is negative as a result of the virus. However, if you look a little closer, you can find the positive.

Pollution

China is the world’s leader in pollution. Their many factories produce a smog cloud that can sometimes drift across the Pacific and reach California. But since the outbreak of the virus, in some of their major industry cities, China has had to put a lock down on production, resulting in shocking results.

NASA Earth Observatory reported that “NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites have detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over China. There is evidence that the change is at least partly related to the economic slowdown following the outbreak of Coronavirus,”

NASA
This graphic shows how pollution monitoring satellites have seen a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels over China

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a dangerous air pollutant that typically contributes to around 4.6 million deaths per year world wide. Since the factories have shut down, the lack of pollution could have saved from 50,000 to 75,000 people. The emissions of carbon dioxide are also falling quickly over China. Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at Finland’s Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, says that “The measures to contain orConavirus have resulted in reductions of 15 percent to 40 percent in output across key industrial sectors, this is likely to have wiped out a quarter or more of the country’s CO2 emissions over the past four weeks.” And this is just in China.

Clean Water

Everyone knows that Italy seems to be the country hit hardest by COVID-19. They have one of the top death tolls in the world. But there is some good to see. People have reported in the beautiful city of Venice that the canals are clear. You can see all the way to the bottom, and even spot some schools of fish or crabs scuttling about on the sandy floor. It has been years since this was possible, and it is due to the lack of boat traffic on the water. The constant stream of tourists, and just everyday traffic,

Andrea Pattaro
The newly clear waters of the canals allow an unique view of the life below the surface

causes the silt from the bottom to stir up, making the water impossible to see through. With no one out on the water, the silt has settled and the canals are now beautifully blue and clear. The locals have even begun to see swans and ducks returning to make nests for the first time in years. Gloria Beggiato is a native Venetian and owner of the Metropole Hotel. She says that “We Venetians have the feeling that nature has returned and is taking back possession of the city.” The newly clear waters of the canals allow a unique view of the life below the surface.

Reconnecting With Family

Another simpler way that the Coronavirus has been positive is people are reconnecting. I know personally I have never been closer with my family. We spend quality time together doing things like playing board games, cooking meals, and walking in our woods together. For the first time since we moved into our house, we had a fire at our fire pit. There are so many things you can do to keep yourself from getting too much cabin fever. One night, we had a “dress up dinner” where everyone dressed nice and ate a formal meal. Try to find fun ways to change it up and really enjoy the personal time with your family.

Rachel Perkins
My siblings and I playing in the creek in our woods

It is hard not seeing friends and teachers and teammates, but take this time to enjoy your family; allow yourself to make good memories. I think that our current situation has forced us to sit down and rethink our priorities, and develop a newfound appreciation of the things we always take for granted, from toilet paper to family time. While this pandemic is indeed a  serious and unfortunate situation, it is important to still see the positive. As you are stuck in your house doing school work or staring at a computer screen, I challenge you to search through the negative and find something good.