This article is not meant to undermine the seriousness of COVID-19. It has brought upon deaths and negative impacts on businesses and the economies. The number of infected Covid-19 patients is increasing at an alarming rate every day. Singapore is not spared from this virus either. There are over 300 reported cases in Singapore and this virus, which everyone thought it was not as deadly as SARS, has now spread to over 160 countries.
While we are constantly being inundated with bad news, don’t forget that there is also good news circulating on social media where we can seek solace in.
Like in any situations, there is always a positive side to things. God is fair and God is always good. He takes what the enemy meant for evil and turns it for good. Elevation Church’s most hyped song, ‘See A Victory’ is currently on my playlist and I can’t help saying ‘Amen’ whenever that song is played on my laptop.
What can we be thankful for thus far? There are more unintended benefits to COVID-19 than you may have expected.
1. We gained our well-deserved rest.
If you’re quarantined at home, rejoice even though you are stuck at home. Count yourself lucky that at least, you are stuck in the safest and most comfortable place on earth.
I’ve read testimonials of people where they finally get to exercise at home, spend more time reading the bible and pray to God. For once, you’re home with your family and you are now able to make up for all the time lost. Take this precious time to bond with your loved ones. How often do we have such luxury of time to ourselves?
Could this also be the perfect time to catch up on your favourite Korean dramas or computer games? I want to stay at home to catch up with some reading too.
2. The Earth is slowly recuperating from pollution and other negative human impacts.
The air and skies have become clearer in Wuhan and other cities within China during the lockdown as factories are closed. The sky looks bluer than before and the air smells fresher.
With fewer tourists visiting tourist spots in Italy, even the fishes have started entering the canals in Venice, Italy. The waterways in Venice has turned visibly clear and blue.
Due to COVID-19, there is also a noticeable drop in carbon emissions and greenhouse gases in some cities across the world. Youth environment activist, Greta Thunberg must be rejoicing right now.
I can’t help thinking that maybe the world needs to go through such a time as this to get us to ‘recalibrate’ and ‘reset’.
3. The world has become a cleaner and safer place to live in.
Thanks to the widespread of this virus, countries have begun to step up their hygiene practices. Suddenly, the whole world is being really OCD about cleanliness. Aren’t we washing our hands more frequently than before? Hand sanitizer is probably an essential thing to carry with us around when we are out and about.
Public areas and common areas are probably cleaner than before with the stringent cleaning measures which were put in place by the various government bodies. Cleaners are working hard to disinfect common surfaces just to maintain public health and safety.
Could all these measures result in fewer people getting sick over the upcoming months? It’s hard to say at this point but at the very least, more people being educated on how to maintain proper hygiene.
I know it might be too naive of me to say that this applies to the whole world because there are people living in poverty who do not even have access to clean water. I pray that this group of people will stay protected from any virulent strains of influenza and may God have mercy on them. However, all in all, the world is now more sensitive to hygiene.
4. Our ever-increasing reliance and importance on Technology
Technology can be a boon or bane. In this case, technology is a boon. It is our current solution to ensure continuity in our lives. Most of us are able to work remotely from home because of technology. Learning can continue for students who are quarantined all thanks to e-learning which is made possible via various educational platforms.
Since all mass gatherings and conferences are gathered, we have to rely on video meeting apps like Zoom, Google Hangout, Google Meet and Skype. Through these platforms, we are still able to work from home and communicate with each other.
In such circumstances, people will probably be online more often than usual to stay connected with the world. They will also have to rely on technology to purchase their daily necessities like food and toiletries.
That explains why the stocks of IT companies have skyrocketed over these couple of weeks. On a positive note, it is just a shift of focus in our economy and a change in our lifestyles. In my opinion, I am positive that the economy will recover after this pandemic but might hit recession towards the end of the year.
5. The world become more innovative and creative with technology.
We have also gotten a lot more creative with technology. For instance, Singapore government has just launched a community-driven contact tracing app called ‘Trace Together’. It uses Bluetooth technology to exchange proximity information whenever the app detects another device with the same app. So if you have been in close contact with an infected COVID-19 individual, the contact tracing team can contact you quicker and faster by assessing the TraceTogether App data.
There are also countless examples of how people living in China invented special remote cars to purchase and deliver food and even relying on drones to ask people to wear masks and stay at home. Even getting a haircut while practising social distancing is also possible. Isn’t this amusing?
5. It is a good time to rediscover Singapore and support local businesses.
In light of this COVID-19 pandemic, various F&B brands, services, hotels and other retail shops across Singapore offer many deals and discounts to attract customers. The Great Singapore Sale has arrived early this year.
Businesses in Singapore, especially the tourism sector, have been hit hard. In such dire situations, we really need to rally all Singaporeans to stay united and support local businesses. Most of us are unable to travel right now but we can always do staycations and visit the local attractions here. Instead of panic buying at supermarkets for rice and other food supplies, why not frequent our local hawker stalls or do takeaways at your favourite eateries? There’s no point hogging onto those packets of rice at home because they will eventually go bad if you can’t consume them before the expiry date. Besides, won’t you get sick of eating rice every day?
Lastly, do not fear.
We need to be circulating more good news to comfort people and eliminate fear-mongering that would cause unnecessary panic. I found comfort in my bible. God is in control. He’s got the whole world in his hands.
There are times I wonder how long this COVID-19 pandemic is going to last and whenever I seek God for answers, I always received that same response from Him. ‘Soon. Just watch and see.’
Most importantly, like any other world crisis, we can overcome any challenges as long as we cooperate with each other and stay united. If we can see opportunities in every challenge we face, this situation would be turned around quickly. We will be able to get through this together.