With an international pandemic sweeping across our nation, most people are focusing on getting by on a day-to-day basis. Life as we know it has come to a complete halt, a reality that seemed unfathomable a few months ago. News headlines flash across our screens reporting deaths, positive COVID-19 tests and graphs of a seemingly never-ending uptick in cases.
Positivity and hope are being diminished by the uncertainty of this time. But what if we direct our attention to the silver lining of the looming storm that is COVID-19?
As I spent the first few weeks planning thrilling activities for when I would finally be able to escape the confinement that is quarantine, I began feeling trapped. School due dates had become mere tallies on a wall, tracking how many days I had been sheltering in place.
It wasn’t until one night as I was sitting around the table with my family, laughter stirring in the home where we grew up, that my outlook on this frightening situation shifted.
The struggle to stay afloat as this highly contagious virus proliferates across states has put our humanity to the test. Doctors are being forced to make heart-wrenching decisions of who to prioritize in treatment. Businesses are being shut down left and right, and workers are finding themselves unemployed with the blink of an eye.
At the root of it, our natural concern for the health and wellbeing of those we love is the driving factor behind this unprecedented halt of day-to-day activity.
Medical professionals face a nightmarish situation where they have to choose which patients are more deserving of being saved. Headlines detailing this reality in the news has the power to immediately spark a flame of despair within us.
What most people fail to acknowledge is that we will — hopefully — come away from this crisis with a newfound respect for the fragility of life.
We begin to question how anyone could make that choice, as we see these patients as equal and alike. Regardless of their name, age, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, we are filled with grief at the thought that one human may get to live over another.
Perhaps we can appreciate this bit of equality amidst the current amplification of socioeconomic differences.
As the likelihood of getting the coronavirus increases, so does our gratitude and appreciation for life as it is. No longer can a lazy Sunday afternoon, lounging in the terrace chairs overlooking Lake Mendota be taken for granted. Early morning classes may be more regularly attended by students as they realize face-to-face instruction can cease at the mere chime of a new email.
Countless videos of people visiting their grandparents and elderly loved ones are surfacing, as they sit with a window between them. This is a pure display of compassion as people get creative to be in the company of their parents and grandparents without threatening their health.
I myself have had the opportunity to sit down with my extended family in order to have a Zoom call with my grandparents. In our daily, fast-paced lives, our family would have never been able to coordinate such a meeting. My grandparents’ radiant excitement to be able to virtually talk to their children and grandchildren perhaps provides a shred of reassurance in staying home.
Friends, family and organizations all over the world strive to continue to connect with others in an attempt to raise money to relieve a small portion of the disaster caused by COVID-19. Pizza parlors and sandwich shops have been working overtime to deliver donated food to hospital workers, thanking them for putting their lives at risk to save our loved ones.
Now more than ever, people have shifted focus from themselves to their community. Neighbors are checking in on neighbors, people are actively supporting local businesses and staying connected from a distance has become an essential aspect of our lives.
The unity demonstrated by communities across the globe in order to combat this virus is truly astounding.
In the midst of the chaos, humanity prevails.
KJ is a freshman studying Journalism and Strategic Communications. Do you think there is a silver lining for us to find in this pandemic? Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org