Silver linings in the coronavirus crisis

Many of us are feeling uncertainty and fear, but it's not all bad news. Here are four positive outcomes of the coronavirus crisis.

The silver linings

Here are some silver linings we can all appreciate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Better hygiene

Now, we all know the importance of hand-washing, wiping surfaces and phones thanks to these viral tutorials, this mystery sky writer in Australia, this science experiment using soap and pepper, and Gloria Gaynor and her #IWillSurviveChallenge that encourages people to wash their hands, which can help prevent coronavirus and other viruses from spreading.

Time to catch-up on culture

Concert halls, cinemas, theaters, and museums might be closed, but culture is alive online. Many performances are now streamed. Museums around the world like the Guggenheim in New York or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam have curated online exhibitions and tours.

A decrease in pollution levels?

These images show a decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels in China between January and February 2020. Italy’s nitrogen dioxide levels have also plummeted between January and March 2020. Global air traffic decreased by 4.3% in February 2020 following tens of thousands of flight cancelations. However, it’s too early to judge the pandemic’s global effects on the environment. Clare Nullis, from the World Meteorological Organization, shared, “The impact on carbon dioxide emissions will depend on the global economic slowdown as a result of the coronavirus. But it's still early days. Any sort of depression in economic activity — reduction in electricity production from coal powered plants, a reduction in transport — will make a difference.”

A crackdown on illegal wildlife trade

Although it is still unclear which animal transferred the virus to humans, it was first pinned to a wildlife wet market in Wuhan. Now, China has banned consumption and farming of wild animals. Wang Weisheng, the deputy director at the Department of National Forestry, stated, “The National Forestry and Grassland Administration immediately requires the whole nation to exam employees health condition in more than 800 shops selling bamboo rats, badgers and so on, and also examine the cause of abnormal death of animals and reasons of illness. Second, [we] have made a clear requirement of isolation of breeding grounds for wildlife across the nation, stop all trade of wildlife in markets and transportation and strictly fight against illegal hunt and trade of wildlife.” Pangolins, one of the animals suspected of being the origin of the outbreak, is an endangered species. Over 1 million pangolins have been poached between 2006 and 2016.