Illustration of the coronavirus, and various cartoon drawings of items such as masks, computers, and books surrounding it.

The silver lining of COVID-19

By Andie Mau
Web Content Assistant Manager

COVID-19 has indisputably changed the world forever, impacting the economy, health and social spheres beyond recognition. Yet the need created out of the current crisis also necessitates innovations that have undeniably improved the quality of life for many.

While we cannot mitigate the amount of loss humanity has faced since COVID, a positive mind-set helps construct a better future.

Greater awareness for mental health and self-help tools

Mental health has been a primary theme this year as billions of people go into quarantine and adopt social distancing protocols. The isolation has brought to the surface the underlining mental health issues of the greater public.

This need for self-help tools has led to a greater awareness of mental health in mainstream media, and the development of various at-home mental health remedies. More than ever, self-help strategies such as healthy living, meditation and mindfulness are practiced and encouraged around the world.

Online counseling is now widely available as well as mobile apps dedicated to improving sleep, physical activity, interrelationships and outlooks on life.

While the pandemic has certainly caused an increase in the prevalence of mental disorders, it has also brought attention to the issue and created finite change in our perceptions of mental health and its treatment.

School and work flexibility

Illustration of a lightbulb, and various cartoon drawings of items such as books, computers, and graduation hats surrounding it.

Now students never have to miss a day of school again with technology already built in place for use. The same can be said of the workforce, as the virtual world provides new opportunities to delegate tasks online and take advantage of technology as a resource more often.

If a school or business wasn’t profiting off the tools of the internet before, the organizations certainly are now in order to survive COVID. While fully-remote learning and working are arguably limited, incorporating parts of the advanced platform into future environments is a valuable option to have.

According to CNN, just this weekend a snow storm rolled into the U.S., shutting down many public areas. Pre-COVID, school and work would have come to a halt but now organizations can resume their operations online.

Mask usage in the West

While mask regulations have sparked controversy in Western areas, most notably the U.S., the concept is not new to Eastern countries that have perceived the health benefits of mask-wearing pre-dating COVID.

Mask-wearing in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea was already a precedent for maintaining public health, according to the Huffington Post. Even for illnesses as simple as the common cold, children and adults are encouraged to wear masks for the sake of other’s health.

Since COVID, mask-wearing has become more of a norm in countries outside the East, and will hopefully continue to be in effect when individuals catch illnesses to better maintain public health.

Although mask-wearing has become a rights issue in places like the U.S., Eastern countries show the benefits to consciousness around the spread of illnesses outside of the pandemic and taking the proper precautions to prevent spread.

Telehealth

 Illustration of a heart, and various cartoon drawings of medical items such as masks, IV drips, and technology surrounding it.

The industry of virtual health care has undergone huge innovations since the pandemic with limited travel permitted to hospitals and doctors’ offices. Now communities of underrepresented individuals, usually deprived of affordable health care, can seek out the care they need through mobile apps and websites.

The unprecedented access and convenience of the health system recently has cemented telehealth in the future of caregiving forever. Virtual monitoring of patients not only sates the demand of over-run hospitals but is also easier for both patient and doctor to attend, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Like education and work environments, both synchronous and asynchronous tactics of health care practiced during the pandemic will be used in the future for a more smooth and accessible caregiving process.

Environmental Impact

According to Alarabiya News [https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2020/03/30/Europe-s-cities-witness-cleaner-air-amid-coronavirus-lockdowns], European cities’ carbon emissions have decreased since the on-going pandemic. The lower emissions are due to decreased transportation and factory activity, clearing the air all across the planet.

It’s no secret the green benefits to waterways as well, as cities such as Venice see newly returned wildlife and clarity to their waters.

This change to the environment further emphasizes the pros to the online transfer of some services, and also gives hope to the possibility of reversing the damage human occupation has had on the planet.

Convenient shopping

Illustration of a grocery bag, and various cartoon drawings of items such as cleaning tools, makeup, and online shopping surrounding it.

Of all things one misses from the pre-pandemic era, grocery shopping is probably not one of them. The elderly or those with health conditions are better off, pandemic or not, with the new no-contact delivery system built into shopping.

Shopping is the most convenient it has ever been since the pandemic forced businesses to shift their models. The result is a process for online browsing that is simpler, wastes less time, and prevents the usual health hazards of going out.

While most assuredly some people will want to get back to window-shopping once social isolation regulations are lifted, the post-pandemic system is a welcome alternative for little-missed chores such as grocery shopping.

Featured Image by: Andie Mau

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