5 Lessons the Coronavirus taught us

In 2013 when I first watched the movie The Croods, the protagonist Eep (voice by Emma Stone) introduces her family, narrating how they survived all dangers and made it through. She also talks about how their neighbors weren’t lucky enough; one trampled by a giant mammoth, another one swallowed by an oversized snake, and interestingly one family died of common cold. I chuckled when I saw this thinking, ‘crazy old times when viral infections were fatal’. I couldn’t be more grateful to advancements in medical science and how far we have evolved since the early ages. It’s 2020 and COVID-19 is here — something smaller than a single human cell, threatening us in an age when we are talking about living on Mars and setting up a resort in space.

As with every unfortunate thing happening around us, there is always a silver lining. Here are 5 things that the Coronavirus situation has brought us to realization.

1. Wealth is not money

Onboard a rescue boat of the Titanic, a mother was seen holding tightly to a jewelry box much to the indignation of others. A little while later, she opened the box and took 2 oranges she had hidden inside, to feed her hungry children. The writer says, “Suddenly, oranges were more valuable than diamonds” (source unverified). Fast forward to 2020, suddenly toilet papers and hand sanitizers are more valuable than diamonds, is it not? I have come to realize that wealth is not money and circumstances like these remind us pointedly.

2. Cleanliness is next to holiness

We are taught enough about cleanliness right from our childhood but we never seemed to care about it more. Now, when I look around and see people washing hands for 20 seconds, using sanitizers, coughing and sneezing responsibly, practicing social distancing — that too somewhat instinctively, I am just happy there is an effort to keep clean. Can we continue this even after the vaccine is found, please?

3. Thou shalt work virtually

It’s amazing to know how working virtually has so many positive outcomes. Less pollution, fewer traffic stalls, fewer parking problems, longer family time and the list goes on — all while work getting done as usual. I believe this situation has brought us to realize that not all work requires a workplace setting. In fact, most of today’s corporate jobs can be performed virtually. Though it has its downsides, I think its benefits outsmart the disadvantages. I wish leaders and the management folks take this cue and start framing proposals for virtual work environments. Anybody hearing?

4. Crackdown on the wet animal market business

A little before the COVID-19 mayhem, I heard one acquaintance talk about the exotic animal trade in China and how the rich flaunt their ability to hoard them. I was both intrigued and shocked by how wildlife was being exploited in some of the most unclean environments. Most of this trade is illegal and happens under the watch of corrupt officials. We all know how the very root of COVID-19 circles back to the Wuhan animal market where the assumption is that the virus changed hosts and eventually mutated. I am happy that COVID-19 exposed this and the Chinese government has locked down all such illegal businesses, providing a sigh of relief for the impoverished wildlife.

5. All humans are the same

Growing up in India in the 90s, we were always in awe of the west. We were painted a picture that everything in the west is in order as opposed to the blatant disorder in our society. In fact, when I first traveled to one of the developed countries, I was amazed at how everyone followed a line, stayed within lanes when driving, smiled at each other, let others at the store billing if they had fewer items, etc. Living in Canada, I get to see these qualities in practice day-in and day-out. Then came the virus and the internet is now filled with videos of people panic buying toilet paper, beating each up other at stores for sanitizers in some of the world’s most developed countries. I’ve come to realize, we humans are mere civilized animals with survival instincts and our civilization can be compromised in certain situations, no matter where we are from. One more testament to the fact — inherently we are all the same.

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