The bright side of the pandemic

Miles of empty highways during the COVID-19 pandemic could remain after the outbreak recedes and people continue working from home. This and other changes could be a positive result of the illness.

As the world moves toward the hopeful end of the global outbreak of COVID-19, it’s hard to believe that things will simply go back to normal once all of this is over.

While mainstream news in these times has been overwhelmingly dominated by the negative, there are some positive outcomes that will surely be the result of the pandemic:

Healthcare workers are finally labeled as heroes:

Doctors, nurses and hospital staff have always been held in high esteem by their communities. However, their status has been raised to being heroes on the frontline of this “war” against COVID-19 — and rightly so.  Being raised by and alongside nurses in my mother and sister, it’s a shame they haven’t been given the credit they deserve until now.

Seeing healthcare workers being applauded by military, police and first-responders shows a widening of who the heroes are in our societies. Now, communities see the heroic value in maintaining public health as much as they do in maintaining national freedoms and public safety.

Food industry professionals get long-needed healthcare reforms:

The food service industry will finally see a long-needed total public health overhaul among its staff. No longer will your bartender have to be working with the flu, your barista have to step off the floor to vomit in the office trash can, or your line cook have to take an ungodly amount of cold medicine to keep himself from sneezing into your salad due to management not having enough staff to cover a shift or workers not having enough money to miss a shift. (Yes, these are from personal experience. Yes, it happens way more often than you’d think.)

Food service workers have long needed better protection in the case of illness and this pandemic has finally brought the issue into the minds of the public and the lawmakers who represent them. Livable working wages, paid sick leave, and better staffing in case of illness seems to be evident and mandatory in the future after COVID-19.

Work-from-home jobs offer environmental changes:

For so long the office setting has been the way it is because nothing has challenged the 9-to-5 workplace rituals. The common workplace complaint of “this meeting could’ve been an email” has finally been put to the test and in turn confirmed while workers have been working from their homes. Businesses will see a change in how their daily routine is put to fruition, including their workers' daily commutes.

It’s long been said that people need to drive less in order to help the environment. With the probable rise in work-from-home jobs after the pandemic passes, daily hour-long commutes will hopefully go by the wayside and not only clear up the traffic-ridden freeways but our airways as well.

Schools and universities become more affordable and accessible:

Technology has not only stepped up in our workplaces but our schools as well. Zoom has allowed for an online class to take on a new face and this opens up new opportunities for online learning. The future will hold challenges for universities in the revenue they bring in from campus housing. Why pay upwards of $2,000 per month to live in a shared 10-foot-by-10-foot room with shared kitchen, bathroom, and living space when you could live in your own home and commute remotely to your collegiate level classes with ultimately the same educational result?

While an in-person community will likely never fade away from colleges and universities, there is a new opportunity for schools to reach students who otherwise may not have been able to afford relocation and student housing. Likewise, it will be easier for students to learn from farther away universities that may offer classes more applicable to their areas of interest, creating a worldwide collegiate sphere rather than countrywide.

A sense of global community is strengthened:

While there will still be difficulties with this, the pandemic has brought out a way of thinking about technology that can connect humans globally. Tinder, relaxing its location-based dating settings has connected single people across the world  no longer just within a 25-mile radius.

It’s now possible for people to create both personal and working relationships with others that are thousands of miles away.

Despite the consistent finger pointing from governments around the globe, the communities within these governments have all been affected by this pandemic in some way or another. COVID-19 is borderless, and so too could our communities be.

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