It’s been almost eight months since 2020 started, and the world has seen enough lately. Ranging from the imminent threat of a world war (due to the POTUS’s actions in Iraq) to the Australian bushfires, the Coronavirus pandemic, and not forgetting the Black Lives Matter movement, humanity has probably seen one of the most challenging and dramatic years of the 21st century. As people, we have seen and suffered enough, and now the current global recession might as well push us to the brink of another pandemic of sorts. But hey! Maybe it isn’t as bad as we expected it to be. 

But just like the concept of ‘yin and yang,’ there is a little good even in the worst of things.

Some of us even used this quarantined period to rekindle ourselves and strengthen the bonds with our families and loved ones.

Here is a list of all the things that might bring back your hope during this time:

  • Another person was cured of HIV: A man from London has become the second person in the world to be cured of HIV by Stem-cell transplant
  • Same-sex marriage got legalized in Cuba
  • A new milestone in spaceflight: For the first time ever, a private company (SpaceX) launched 2 astronauts aboard it’s Crew Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This was indeed a huge milestone since the space shuttle program was scrapped by NASA. It was a moment of triumph and perhaps nostalgia for the country, a welcome reminder of America’s global preeminence in science, technological innovation and private enterprise at a time its prospects and ambitions have been clouded by the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty and political strife.
  • Technological Innovations
    • Blockchain:
        • The blockchain tech is a digital ledger that is used for recording transactions but confidential and secure thanks to its decentralized, self-regulated, and encrypted nature. 
        • The tech will be used by governments. The blockchain concept is of interest to government agencies that have to keep, monitor, and administer big data. Most agencies have separate databases within a city’s infrastructure, so they have to request data from other agencies and departments. By using the blockchain tech, they can share data as it circulates across infinite nodes. This makes data management more efficient. 
    • 5G Network:
      • The 5th generation mobile network is expected to provide us with super-fast download and upload speed as well as deliver a much higher degree of flexibility and scalability.
      • Apart from lightning-fast Internet speed that makes it possible to stream video and music at high quality, it will enable the development of miscellaneous innovations such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, IoT, Augmented Reality. 
  • Pollution levels dropped significantly in many industrialized parts of the world: Especially here in India, the people living in areas of the Punjab, Delhi, and UP could even make out the glistening peaks of the Nepalese Himalayas, which is nothing short of a miracle.

Have a look at: Sulaman Muhammad et al. “COVID-19 pandemic and environmental pollution: A blessing in disguise?”, Science of the Total Environment, Vol 728 (2020), 138820

  • Australian bushfires ceased: Drastic changes in wind patterns lead to an increase in annual rainfall in Down Under, and one of Earth’s most vulnerable ecosystems was saved.

  • Research and quality improvement during the pandemic: This period has seen a remarkable increase in the quality of medicine and drug development to help combat the virus. More and more testing centres have been opened, and more people tested for the virus, which can get us a rough idea on the potency of the virus and the drug capability to defeat it. Moreover healthcare services are being supplied with better masks, ventilators, drugs to help overcome the challenges imposed by the virus.

Cities are reopening. Lockdowns are lifting. And some people are starting to feel they can glimpse a return, however slow and partial, to “normal.”

But the pandemic has changed us, hasn’t it?

Although being on lockdown has been pretty grueling for most people, the surprise is that many of us have realized there are some things about quarantine life that are worth preserving. We’re questioning the very fundamentals of the “normal” we’d all come to unthinkingly accept — and realizing we don’t want to go back, not to that.

Quarantine has allowed us to experiment with new habits and new lifestyles. And they want to keep some of these things going, even in a post-lockdown world. Professionals who’re out of work now can delve their time into learning more things and upskilling themselves for the better, simultaneously improving their general health in their home comforts.

Some significant changes seen are:

  • Understanding self sufficiency: As shops and outlets got closed, people started adapting to the same clothes, electronics, etc. and have started buying less. A lengthy period of being shut in and not spending as much has led to the understanding that so much of our consumer behavior is instant satisfaction, not lasting contentment.

  • Diets have changed for the better: People have stopped eating out at restaurants or even the local street food, saving them money, and have started trying new ways to cook their food, and then critiquing their inventions to help them improve and develop taste.
  • Slowing down and putting less pressure on themselves: While in the comfort of their homes, people have started realizing the importance of rest. All those years of “rushing” around attending meets and working themselves out, which ultimately made many miserable, has stopped somewhat, which is an excellent boost to the mental and physical health of the population. People have started to experience a sense of inner peace with themselves, which has led to a general increase in productivity, especially in white-collared jobs.
  • Prioritizing their social circles: Many people have realized this, and have come to appreciate the family members and friends who’ve been there for them during this tough time, it’s this group that they want to invest in a lot of time. People have started “virtually” bonding with their relatives, acquaintances, and colleagues and have realized how important it is to have a good relationship with even people they haven’t had contact for years.
  • A profound increase in activism and societal work: Many have realized how important it is to help others in need and do their bit for their communities. The BLM movement and the recent surge in donations and charity work in poor or developing countries can be attributed. People from all walks of life are helping each other irrespective of the outcomes. They have started to raise their voices against any oppression of degeneration in society.
  • Caring a bit now more for Nature: People have realized now what is their carbon footprint, and how much impact they’ve had on the ecosystem, and since, going out is not an option, alternatives like house gardens and rooftop gardening have started. People have started reusing and recycling anything they can get their hands on. Lesser usage of fossil-fuel run vehicles has significantly impacted metropolitan areas and mega-cities, which benefits the health of people living in them.

The question remains whether we’ll continue with our current lifestyle after “when it’s all over”? It all depends on how the future unravels, but we can hope it to be much better than the current scenario. In the end, even if not much good came after all (till now), surviving this year is an accomplishment!