The global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has irrevocably changed the world that we live in. And there are doubts that we will ever return to the way things were. We are moving into the New Normal: a way of living the best life we can despite the virus.
COVID-19: A summary and brief timeline
Before we look at the veracity of donating to charities and Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) during the worst pandemic in over a century, let’s look at a timeline of the COVID-19 spread and its consequent impact on the world.
As most people know by now, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first noticed in Wuhan, China, during the last days of 2019.
The article titled “A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic” notes that by 6 August 2020, the virus has spread to over 177 countries.
To date, it has sickened over 30 million people across the world, with 946 233 fatalities.
The caveat here is that because the virus spreads so rapidly, these numbers will change substantially every 24 hours.
The second caveat is that because this virus is a novel (or new) coronavirus, even after 8.5 months, the world’s scientists and medical professionals still do not know much about the virus’s behavior.
A layman’s viewpoint is that the virus seems to have a level of built-in intelligence, similar to that of an Artificial Intelligence neural network. Therefore, when it’s contagiousness and infectiousness levels drop, it mutates and starts again. The resulting disease also shows similar patterns (again to a layman). It first caused a respiratory illness; then, it started causing blood storms and honeycomb lungs and holes in human organs.
By looking at a timeline of the virus’s progression, let’s attempt to understand the extent of the crisis around us.
31 December 2019
Chinese medical professionals were attempting to treat dozens of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause. Shortly afterward, the novel coronavirus was first identified, and it had already infected hundreds of people, mainly in Wuhan, China.
What is important to note here is that there was no evidence that the virus spreads via human-to-human transmission.
5 January 2020
This was the start of the Chinese New Year, where hundreds of millions of people traveled across China, mainly from the cities to their hometowns and villages.
11 January 2020
China reported its first death from a respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.
20 January 2020
The virus started spreading across the world through person-to-person transmission. The first cases occurred in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. The first confirmed case was noted in the USA on 21 January 2020.
23 January 2020
The Chinese authorities locked down Wuhan. No one was allowed to leave or enter the city. At least 17 people had died, and more than 570 people were infected, including in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, and the USA.
30 -31 January 2020
The World Health Organization declared a “public health emergency of international concern.” At the same time, the USA government restricted travel from China. This not only included Chinese nationals but any foreign visitor who had traveled to China within 14 days before they entered the USA.
By this date, numbers started climbing in that 213 people had succumbed to the virus, and just under 10 000 people had been infected across the globe.
2 February 2020
The first person outside of China succumbed to the virus.
5 February 2020
Passengers on the first of the cruise ships, The Diamond Princess, were quarantined on Yokohama, Japan. Eventually, more than 600 people contracted the virus, the largest number outside China.
Fast forward to 14 February 2020, where France announced the first death in Europe.
The infection rates started to climb rapidly, and the only recognized way to prevent the virus’s spread was social distancing or social isolation. In other words, it was determined that the virus’s primary mechanism for spreading was via person-to-person transmission and the only way to prevent it from spreading was to implement a hard lockdown where residents of a country or region were forced to stay at home and only go out for essential items or medical care.
23 February 2020
The virus peak began in Italy and spread across Europe, resulting in differing levels of the lockdown.
Surviving the social isolation caused by the lockdown requirements
Following a similar pattern, the virus spread rapidly across the world’s population, ending in physical, emotional, and economic devastation along its way.
The lockdown regulations caused an instant shutdown of the world’s economy, with all non-essential businesses being forced to close and employees laid off or furloughed. Employees whose companies were able to pivot their business operations online were fortunate enough to work from home.
While much has been made of the global shutdown’s negatives, several positives have come from the global pandemic and its resultant lockdown. Here is a list of some of the more critical positive results of COVID-19.
- Generosity and empathy
Statistics show that the world’s economy will lose over $21 trillion (USD) as a result of the economic slowdown. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and the financial hardship is real. The net effect is that people who are still employed have given and continue to give to charitable organizations like Yad Ezra V’Shulamit. The human race seems to have changed their outlook from an insular, self-centric viewpoint to an outward-looking point of view that sees others’ needs and responds accordingly.
- Family values
Amid the stresses of the hard lockdown and social distancing requirements, many families have returned to old-fashioned family values. The strengthening of family ties has been a consequence of the lockdown as families spend time together, eating around the table, and playing games like board games together.
Not only is exercise good for physical health, but it also improves mental and emotional health. And one of the reasons people have been allowed out during the lockdown is for exercise; therefore, many individuals have started exercising. Even though the worst of the lockdown has passed, many people have continued with their exercise regimes.
- Healthy eating
One thing that the lockdown provided was time. Consequently, there was time to cook instead of purchasing take-outs or ready-made meals. Succinctly stated, slow food made using fresh ingredients became important.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences caused an inordinate amount of stress and anxiety. However, as described above, several positives have arisen out of the crisis.
Finally, the proverb, every cloud has a silver lining epitomizes the novel coronavirus pandemic.
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