Coronavirus: behind the tragedies, some positive consequences

An increasingly limited planet that counts its deaths while watching the economy collapse: since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, bad news has been linked to a hell of a train and risks making us forget some positive points.

Since between improved hygiene, reducing pollution and strengthening social ties, some light rays break through in general darkness.

Wash your hands!

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From the beginning of the epidemic, the message hammered by healthcare professionals has been clear: wash your hands.

A message that is now being sent both by politicians and by celebrities, when “wash hands challenges” is not shown on social networks.

The goal is to introduce the idea into everyone’s habits and to learn the proper way to wash each part of their hands carefully. Almost everywhere sells hydroalcoholic gels as hotcakes.

This increased sense of hygiene seems to be profitable in some countries such as Japan, where the number of flu cases has fallen. Sure, the season is not over yet, but at the beginning of March the country had registered only 7.21 million cases, far from previous years, including a record of 21.04 million in 2017-2018.

“We believe one of the reasons is that people are more careful about washing their hands because of the spread of the new corona virus,” Daisha Inoue, a Japanese health ministry official, told Daisha Inoue.

Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced

From an economic point of view, demand, travel bans and closure of factories are a nightmare. For the environment, it is a blessing.

In February, Chinese CO2 emissions fell by 25%, or 200 million tonnes, compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (). This decrease corresponds to the annual carbon dioxide emissions from Argentina, Egypt or Vietnam.

The Chinese slowdown also led to a 36% reduction in coal consumption in power plants in China, with a near-similar collapse in oil consumption in refineries.

When it comes to air transport, the almost total paralysis of the sector contributes to reducing its significant carbon dioxide emissions.

And other positive effects are visible: in Venice, the water became clear with the halt of the uninterrupted ballet of boats crowded with tourists.

A short break, however, according to experts who expect all economies to try to catch up at the beginning of the year, when the crisis is over.

Save the pangolins

While the origins of Covid-19 remain debatable, the first traces were concentrated around a market in Wuhan (central China) where wildlife was sold for consumption. Among them, bats or pangolin, a threatened species, are cited as possible sources of the virus.

Therefore, in February, China decided to ban the sale and consumption of wildlife completely and immediately, a move welcomed by environmental organizations.

Measures already taken in the early 2000s, during the epidemic, but which did not last. This time, the ban is permanent, which hopes for a complete cessation of this type of trade.

“I think the government has realized that the price paid to society and the economy is much higher than this trade can provide,” said Jeff He, head of China for the International Fund for the Protection of Animals (Ifaw).

The possible link between the virus and the pangolin also seems to have calmed wild meat lovers elsewhere in the world: game sellers in Gabon have seen their sales decline.

Far apart but together

Among the consequences of the restrictions that were put in place to slow down the spread of the virus, the distance between family and friends is undoubtedly one of the most difficult to manage.

But for some, these measures, on the contrary, reinforce the usual sense of belonging, pushing them to make even more effort to learn from their families and get closer to their friends.

In Colombia, where the confinement has been going on for almost three weeks, Andrea Uribe, 43, for example, has set up gym classes and family talent competitions with various video messaging services.

“I often call my parents, I talk to friends. I don’t usually have time to contact. I have organized friends meetings through video,” he told Uribe. “It’s wonderful to be there for each other. It shows us that we must be present in the lives of others.

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