If you’ve ever read history and really engaged with it, you’ll notice two things. The first is that everything is connected, and the second is that nothing lasts forever.
You could blame the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic on any number of factors. You could say that the Chinese government did not notify the world fast enough. You could say that governments did not act strongly enough in the early stages. You could even say that some people just refuse to take the precautions needed to protect themselves. But what does all that matter now, the virus is here, its been here for months and now everything is different.
Perhaps the biggest change seen was to the infrastructure of business. In a matter of months companies have had to shift vast majorities of their workers into an online space. While it may be hard to fathom, this was an option that didn’t even exist only thirty years ago.
This course of action however was somewhat limited to companies whose operations were compatible with a work-from-home model. A large percentage of businesses were simply forced to close their doors, either temporarily or forever.
For a business owner a loss of revenue, especially in the summer months, can be a major blow to the company’s future; for workers, losing what was for many a sole source of income left many struggling to make ends meet. This is why it is difficult to fully admonish the push by many to reopen as quickly as possible, since for many it was either risk contracting COVID-19 or starving.
A topic that is more close to home were the plethora of changes to schooling. The majority of us likely had to push through a sudden and abrupt switch to online learning earlier this year -a switch that has stuck for the time being.
And while there are those of us who have been quick to adjust, there are others who have lost their footing as a result. But there is no point in wasting ink on a recap. For those of us who are in college now — which we specify since we’ve learned that we have non-Canisius, non-faculty readers — you could argue that we had a choice in continuing our education this semester since we are adults.
However, it’s not so common that people can simply put a pause on their college journey so easily. For students in K-12 there is far less choice involved in how they get to attend their classes.
It was sickening to read stories of committees being formed to find acceptable numbers of child deaths in order for schools to resume in person. Any sane person, given a morsel of time to think, could probably come to the conclusion that if you need to calculate how many children will die if you perform an action, then perhaps it’s best to not do that action at all.
The Covid outbreak unveiled a deep and widespread sense of entitlement, selfishness and idiocy that exists within the public. In the early days we saw an uptick in young people who had deluded themselves into thinking they were invincible traveling far and wide, taking advantage of the recently available discounted flight prices.
House parties — you know, drunk people in a small space — only saw a minor dip in frequency despite the health risks. And at the top of the ladder are the anti-maskers, people who need so desperately to maintain the status quo or prove themselves smarter than everybody else by actively opposing the easiest change you could make to your routine.
One would think that when given a choice between mild discomfort and dying, people would choose the former.
Again, this is a very self-centered way of looking at the virus. The true terror of these people — the partiers, the vacationers, and the anti-maskers — is that they can all serve as carriers for the virus, none of which are the least bit deterred from their actions with all the stories of people inadvertently infecting their high risk family members, often resulting in death.
Now in addition to revealing some of humanity’s worst, the virus has also helped to reveal some of its best. And it is always important to highlight both. This summer saw more than its fair share of tragic stories, though the most publicized were the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor that sparked a renewed vigor in the Black Live Matter movement and its supporters.
In an uplifting global effort, tens of thousands of people across the globe were unified against this injustice despite the risks involved in gathering. Many charities, such as Feeding America and the Coronavirus Relief Fund saw generous donations from rich and poor alike.
And, as small of a win as it may be, people have kept chugging on with their lives despite everything. Even though it took a while, the day to day person is usually wearing a mask, has some form of sanitizer and, though often clumsily, will attempt to social distance. But in more than just people, the world itself has changed.
Who would have thought thirty years ago that you could get a week’s worth of groceries sent to your door with just the click of a button? Well, online shopping of all sorts has now become easier and more convenient than ever. On a whole several changes have been made to seemingly immutable facets of life that have revealed just how limiting some of these were.
Companies have learned that employees are often just as capable working from home as they would be in an office, students are enjoying less rigid scheduling, and the world is slowly becoming more sanitary.
Yes, COVID-19 has changed a lot of things about the way we thought life had to be, and while most of these have been for the worst we mustn’t overlook the better as well. So many great advancements have come out of tragedy, and this opens the door for a variety of progress. Do we want to go back to normal, or do we want to come out of this stronger and smarter?