The Untold Story of Covid-19
Gao Kamalanavin, Grad 23 Patana Student
Covid-19. The infectious disease that has killed more than 1 million people and caused major economic recession around the globe. Until recently, there's been no functional vaccine developed, and the numbers of coronavirus cases have been increasing daily, with a current total of around 60 million globally confirmed cases. This virus, which originated in Wuhan China, has spread across the world at an unpredicted rate. Covid-19 has a zoonotic nature: the virus can transfer between humans and animals (in this case, the virus likely originated from bats). I’m certain that all these negative statistics have been thrown at you during this pandemic. However, this pandemic may actually be a catalyst for societal development. We have experienced the inconveniences and obstacles caused by Covid-19. Such sudden and drastic changes to the ‘everyday norm’ can be intimidating, especially when we are under academic pressure. Events like this don't occur often but when it does, it becomes a part of us. It helps us better prepare and adapt when new situations arise.
Have you noticed that the sky is ‘bluer’? Time Magazine stated that during lockdown, carbon emissions have reduced by 7% due to the lack of pollution from transportation and industrial structures. Some Covid-19 restrictions only allow people to travel small distances, which encourages them to use eco-friendly means of transport such as walking or cycling. The illustrations below compare the density of Nitrogen Dioxide in China before and during the Pandemic. The amount of this toxic gas has decreased dramatically, as shown by the absence of dark coloring in the illustrations of 2020. Many other countries have experienced a decrease in carbon emissions as well. According to BBC News, New York has experienced a decrease of 10%, while Paris’ emissions decreased by 72%. This temporary improvement proves the potential of humanity to control our carbon emissions. Developing this could help us achieve our long term goals of reducing greenhouse gases at a consistent rate to improve climate change.
Secondly, Covid-19 has raised awareness and improved the quality of online education. Have you ever used Microsoft Teams before the pandemic? Although Microsoft Teams was created in 2017, I’m positive that most of us have never even heard of this platform until recently. The graph below shows a dramatic 5 fold increase in the usage of Teams during the pandemic. Many schools, including ours, have turned to such online platforms to smoothly transition from physically attending classes, and continuing studies at home. Features of Teams include a platforms for sharing learning resources, class video calls, and directly connected to Office 365; such as Word, One-Note, etc. The pandemic acts like an experiment to determine the effectiveness of online education: it has debunked that learning face-to-face is the only way to ‘properly’ be educated. The development of technology has provided us with platforms that we can conveniently use to communicate and collaborate like we would in a classroom. Online education is still used today- even without lockdown regulations- proving that the Covid-19 pandemic increased our awareness of the digital platforms that can be easily used to support our learning. This development could also have large implications for LEDCs, making education easily accessible to all.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a major turning point in the final months of 2019- no one knew that our lives would have become different. From wearing masks 24/7 to constantly sanitizing our hands, we have adapted into the ‘new normal’, and it will remain this way until a vaccine will be created. We still don’t know what the future holds. When will the pandemic end? When will we have a vaccine? And will there be future pandemics after COVID-19? No one knows the answers to these questions, but we know that at least we’ve created some benefits from COVID-19. I believe that COVID-19 has become a catalyst that triggered our inner creativity while the world was trapped in chaos. This event will go down in history, and we must work together to ensure this disease is remembered as more than just a setback to humankind. I hope that COVID-19 will be remembered as an unprecedented time that inspired new innovation, lowered greenhouse gas emissions, and improved online education, helping many worldwide.
Kamolnisa (Gao) Kamalanavin, a Year 11 Patana Student
Opinion piece based on previous articles and analysis
Derrick Bryson Taylor (August 2020) A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic [online] last access: 27th October 2020 Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html
World meter (October 2020) Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic [online] last access: 27th October 2020 Available at: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?%22
Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (April 2020) Is the sky “bluer” since lockdown? [online] last access: 27th October 2020 Available at: https://www.aeronomie.be/en/news/2020/sky-bluer-lockdown#:~:text=The%20sky%20might%20indeed%20seem%20bluer&text=For%20this%20reason%2C%20the%20diffusion,yellowish%20sky%20during%20the%20day.
Pete Norman (March 2020) Air Pollution Vanishes Across China’s Industrial Heartland [online] last access: 27th October 2020 Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-01/air-pollution-vanishes-across-china-s-industrial-heartland
Emily Barron, Lon Tweeten, Chris Wilson, Tara Law (July 2020) The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Caused Carbon Emissions To Drop. But That Likely Won’t Last [online] last access: 1st November 2020 Available at: https://time.com/5864374/coronavirus-carbon-emissions/
Matt McGrath (May 2020) Climate change and coronavirus: Five charts about the biggest carbon crash [online] last access: 1st November 2020 Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52485712
Margaret Rouse (August 2020) Microsoft Teams [online] last access: 1st November 2020 Available at: https://searchunifiedcommunications.techtarget.com/definition/Microsoft-Teams
Paanyai Zaveri, Skye Gould (May 2020) These charts show how use of Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom has skyrocketed thanks to the remote work boom [online] last access: 1st November 2020 Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-teams-slack-zoom-usage-charts-increased-remote-work-pandemic-2020-4
World Health Organization (2019) Coronavirus [online] last access: 1st November 2020 Available at: https://www.who.int/thailand/health-topics/coronavirus