Covid-19 appeared out of nowhere in December 2019 – like a thief in the night. It caught the world completely by surprise. I remember watching the rapidly changing developments and thinking it was only a matter of time before this virus became an international catastrophe. So said, so done. By March 2020, life as we knew it, had changed in ways we never anticipated. The whole world went into lockdown. Governments ordered non-essential businesses to close and employees who could, to work from home. All schools closed and children were switched to online learning. In my opinion, our lives have permanently changed. I’m not sure that we will ever go back to “normal”. I think many of these changes will remain with us for a long time. Covid-19 is here to stay.
The pandemic has shaken us to our core and has left behind a trail of death and despair that is hard to fathom. Families have been thrown into immeasurable grief. Millions have died worldwide and due to the transmissibility of the virus, those people died all alone – with no loved ones there to hold their hands and to tell them goodbye. Heartbreaking. Many people who contracted the virus and recovered have had long lasting effects, some with permanent damage to their lungs or other organs.
The Impact On Us All
The financial impact on businesses and people’s personal lives has been devastating. Many countries are on the verge of recession. Governments worldwide have had to step in to provide emergency funding to the many people who lost jobs. Sadly, many of the businesses that had to let staff go have closed permanently. Banks offered mortgage and loan deferrals while governments worked with landlords to provide rent relief. These are all helpful measures but what happens when these moratoriums end? Where will the money come from to pay these outstanding amounts?
Then there are the mental health consequences that we are yet to fully determine. Social isolation has been difficult for many people. Many lost loved ones without being able to say goodbye or to even grieve with others. This has inflicted trauma that may have lasting effects. Children forced to stay at home and away from their friends have had a hard time expressing what they feel. The multiple stressors that people are dealing with are off the charts.
A Ray of Hope
However, if there is a silver lining in the dark cloud that is covid-19, it is the resilience of the Earth and the people fortunate enough to dwell upon it. With all the humans forced to stay at home, the Earth, which has been abused year after year, started to heal itself. Carbon emissions levels fell – for the first time in years. Water in the canals in Venice went from black to blue and fish could once again be seen in them. Endangered species began to reproduce and reclaim space they had previously occupied. In Kenya in 2020, not a single rhinoceros was killed by poachers! I repeat, zero, none, not one. Incredible! Meanwhile, brilliant scientists around the world raced against the clock to develop vaccines. An they did it! In record time, we now have vaccines.
Communities came together to support overworked and worried health care workers in any way they could. For people working from home, covid-19 brought out a level of humanity that wouldn’t have been seen if everyone was in the office. Coupled with Zoom fatigue, we all got a glimpse into each other’s lives. Who hasn’t been on a zoom call and heard someone’s baby crying or their children or spouse in the background? Let’s not forget the dogs that were barking or the cats that walked right in front of the camera. No one complained because, maybe for the first time, we saw each other as multi-dimensional individuals rather than just as “co-workers”. It has produced empathy which I believe was sadly lacking in the corporate space.
So despite the incredibly difficult time that we have all experienced since March 2020, I choose to look for the few rays of sunshine that I can find. When I find them, I celebrate them. I implore you to seek out the positives wherever you can find them and choose to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.