Everything under the sun has two faces. There is a nuanced dichotomy almost in everything, principally the way humans traditionally do and interpret things. I’ll use this dyadic tactic to reconnoiter all good and subtle things that the Covid-19 pandemic has engendered despite its obvious looming corollaries, idiosyncrasies and jeopardies to humankind.
After the novel coronavirus broke out in 2019, it spelt doom and gloom for the world almost in everything. However, as the things go, there seems to be a silver lining to it. Some positive things can be attributed to this pandemic.
Covid-19–––if well studied and utilized–––is likely to help us to usefully change the world. Environmental activists, ecologists and futurists are happy with the ablution of air that comes with Covid-19. Similarly, rare and imperiled animals, in some places, are coming back. Further, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, there were 15,000 new sightings reported in the first days of April. Last year, is indicative of the improvements of some endangered animals.
The bigger picture one gets from ecofriendly changes such as air and water quality improvements speaks to the fact that our consumerism is something that will one time extinguish us. It further, speaks to how we can apply the good lessons from Covid-19 to take on global warming. We have an opportunity to reconcile Covid-19 science and global warming science.
Husbands who used to come home in the middle of the night under various ruses––––so as to become rare genera to their progenies––––are now home during thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown. Their movement was curtailed either for the fear of endangering their families or obeying the lockdown laws. Whatever proceeds used to go to liquor dens and lavish lifestyles can now help their family to live better. Housewives are no longer lonely. Kids who had forgotten how their fathers look are now happy to see them around. Conflict over parenting and infidelity has fallen sharply. On the flipside, girls have been on the receiving end as far as premarital pregnancies are concerned. For example, according to the Global Citizen (August 19th, 2022), in Kenya alone, “over a period of three months in lockdown due to COVID-19, 152,000 Kenyan teenage girls became pregnant—a 40% increase in the country's monthly average.” This alerts us to do things differently shall we go back to the lockdown.
The lockdowns informed us about our un/preparedness. Many governments were caught off guard; something that allowed corrupt officials to rob public coffers under the pretext[s] of the urgency in tackling the pandemic. Our health infrastructure was found wanting. The lesson learned is that countries and governments need to have emergency funds and laws altogether.
While many students globally were online learning, ours were struggling for various reasons such as lack of internet connectivity, electricity and the general programs and infrastructure that would have enabled us to address this anomaly. The upshot is that Africa needs to start thinking about technology and power interconnectivity. Dependency on others to help proved to not help. Together we can bridge the orifice we are having now as a people and a continent.
In sum, Covid-19, despite its perils, presents challenges and opportunity to humankind shall we become creative and resilient, especially in preparing ourselves for the post-pandemic time. Despite being a menace, Covid-19 can be a wake-up call for us to reconsider how we use our resources and the way we treat mother earth with myopia flaunted by our consumerism, egoism and greed as people and society.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.