NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Forced vacation for everyone: Comparing and contrasting the effects of the pandemic

Many world leaders have placed their countries under strict quarantine orders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which seems to be having a positive effect on the planet itself.

Currently there is a lot of negative information circulating in relation to the coronavirus. However, there is also encouraging news about it. Stories which typically occupy much less space in the media and in our conversations.

Rivers are less polluted, and animals seem more relaxed in their habitats. Factories and industries ceasing or decreasing their harmful emissions, and the travel restrictions imposed have been positive side effects of the expansion of the coronavirus, which’s arrival has been devastating to people worldwide, but also seems to show us that the earth needed a break from human contamination.

Silent, deserted streets where birdsongs are heard again is the new normal landscape in large and tourist cities like New York, Venice and Madrid, among many others.

The environment is not the only beneficiary during this pandemic. Obviously, the coronavirus is not a positive occurrence for humans, however being urged or forced in some cases to be quarantined at home has brought out the human side of the people.     

Yuleidy Taveras, a 21-year-old journalism student in New Jersey says, “the positive side that this pandemic is giving us is that the contamination has declined due to the coronavirus outbreak. Since for our health we have had to stay in our homes to not be infected. ” she also adds, “by spending more time at home, we can enjoy our family more. Whether it’s doing creative things like cooking together, watching movies on Netflix or telling anecdotes from the past.”

In the times before the invention of the Internet, social isolation as is suggested and in some places required, would have been extremely lonely. In general, the quarantines imposed on the planet, some more stringent than others, are limiting the mobility of people and therefore, technological consumption has increased exponentially in recent months.

We also have the advent of modern technology to thank for the ability to make video calls to our family and friends, allowing us to feel more connected.

“And now thanks to technology, even when we are in quarantine, we can contact our relatives or loved ones.” Yuleidy said, “It should also be added that many singers do their concerts through social networks, and anyone can enjoy the concert and you can interact with them.” She concludes by saying “But for me one of the most positive aspects of all this is that many people will start having more hygiene. They will start to wash their hands more or have a cleaner house.

Although a COVID-19 vaccine has yet to appear, several vaccine prototypes are being advanced, and several countries are joining, and scientists around the world are developing medical solutions.

The drastic decrease in the number of airline flights, driven by quarantines and travel restrictions in Europe and the United States, among others, have contributed significantly to the reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. This notable drop in flights around the world and tourism in cities will have a considerable economic impact, but it has shown in such a short time the impact of these factors on the environment and how humans could really live without making an extensive use of them.

Many people had plans to travel during the year 2020, but due to the pandemic many of the flights will not take place, at least not for some time.           

Eduardo Haro, 24, a graduate of corporate law says, “For this year I had thought about being able to travel a lot on vacation, but as the coronavirus is expanding more and in a quick manner makes difficult to travel outside the country.” He also added “we must look at the positive side of all this, and since being locked in our houses we should realize that we are privileged to have the people we have around us, as well as our parents, family.” Eduardo said, “we can enjoy more with our family.”

The collective response against coronavirus in many countries is to stay at home; this has meant that classes and many jobs have been suspended until further notice. Schools and employers have had to rework their daily methods and operations; everything is being done online with a limited few continuing to go out into the world to do their jobs.

Jorge Coimbra, 21, an electrical engineering student at Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain, is in his last year of school and for him the quarantine has been a bit complicated, “this was supposed to be my last few months before I graduated from college. But by the pandemic that COVID-19 has generated, I think my studies will extend for a few more months.” Coimbra continued, “Online classes are supposed to start next week but students are very uninformed about what will happen at the end of our semester. In Spain, online classes are being somewhat chaotic.”

The impact of COVID-19 has not been completely negative for Jorge. “Although not everything is being so bad, by being locked up in my house for so long I have been able to have more time for myself. I have been able to relax, learn new recipes to cook, and spend more time with my family.” Jorge said, “I have also observed that in these difficult times people have become more socialized with the people who need it.” He ends saying, “in bad times, the supportive face of the people always comes out.”

The panic over the coronavirus and the collective response to this pandemic could serve to illustrate what can be achieved among all if we become aware of how climate change is affecting us. Saving the planet and saving ourselves is possible, transforming our way of life and its impact on the environment is not only achievable, but can be done in a short time thanks to global action.