Innovation, sustainability and solidarity, the positive side of COVID-19
In the middle of 2019 we discovered the word coronavirus, and associated it with pandemic, crisis, disease and death, but if we dig deeper, we can also draw the positive side of these last 15 months
More than a year ago we would never have thought that our lives would change so suddenly, that we would be confined for weeks without leaving our homes, that masks would be mandatory, that we would not be able to see our loved ones for months, but above all, we would never have imagined that a respiratory virus would be responsible for millions of deaths around the world. Although we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we just need to maintain the restrictions set by the authorities, vaccination should not be delayed and everything will get better and better. Looking at the positive side of all this, we could highlight the following:
- United for the same cause
For the first time in the history of mankind we have been able to see the enormous capacity for cooperation, coordination and solidarity that has taken place within the scientific community, many articles published on the subject, a lot of shared knowledge, and the rapid identification and evolution of the disease, regardless of the country and scientists.
Countries, together with the pharmaceutical industry, have invested heavily in the development of vaccines so that in less than a year, they can begin to vaccinate the population and return to normality as soon as possible. An unusual example of organisation and coordination for the vaccine has been Israel, where more than 50% of the population has already received the full doses of COVID-19.
- Less pollution
Stopping the world has led to a decrease in CO₂ pollution, as a result of the huge decrease in air and land transport, which has resulted in a better climate for the planet. We have been able to breathe cleaner, less polluted air. Without a doubt, it has been a historic and unprecedented respite. Perhaps the milestone lies in investing in new energy alternatives that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly for the planet.
- Improving public health
Especially during the first months of the pandemic, March-April-May last year, after many years in which public health had been invisible in Spain, public health was put on the political agenda for the first time. We had a General Public Health Law of 2011 that has not been developed in these years, as well as a legal framework that still does not provide the necessary response to restrictive measures and we have had to resort to a state law of alarm.
When everything is working well, public health is somewhat invisible, but this has been on such a scale, and like other parts of the health system has seen such a reduction in resources and capacity, that it has been put on the table.
It is good that it has been put on the public agenda because it will result in better overall preparedness. We have realised that we were not prepared before and were not aware of the importance of having a good public health system.
- Solidarity and help
We have felt our neighbours close to us, and we have generated a climate of help and solidarity, which has spread, giving rise to non-profit associations that help and care for people in situations of poverty and social exclusion generated by the pandemic.
We know that getting out of this pandemic not only depends on what each one of us does; no one is safe unless we are all safe. We can only overcome this as a globalised society. This pandemic puts on the table that for problems of this kind we have to act together as a society to win.
This virus has brought us a new way of living, of understanding life from a different perspective, where empathy plays an important role, as we have all had to experience the not-so friendly side of it. And, despite this, we have been able to stand in front of the mirror and see what we really are: people with resources, resilient people who have made of this vital moment a reason to better themselves and, in many cases, reinvent themselves.