2020: THE YEAR OF THE PANDEMIC
Author: Vaibhav shitole
The year 2020 witnessed one of the biggest global phenomenon’s that changed billions of lives in various ways. The coronavirus which started as an epidemic in China soon became a global pandemic that put the whole world in a state of panic and crisis. The last pandemic has seen before this was that in 2009 of the H1N1 flu. The corona virus pandemic hit the world very hard. The factor that was probably the most difficult one to get accustomed to was that a fast-moving world was suddenly brought to a halt. And we know when this happens, the momentum is hard to control.
At first, the lockdown was perceived as a temporary imposition being a part of preliminary precautionary measures. But soon it was realized that the virus was here to stay. Lockdown was stretched in phases one afteranother. When this happened, people started to panic. This is because all modes of transportation were suspended. Thousands of people were stranded far away from home, either in foreign countries or stuck at the residence of friends or distant relatives, or even worse. They were not given a fair chance and time to return to their homes, especially in India where the lockdown was declared instantaneously.
The world saw around 129mil coronavirus patients, with nearly 2.8mil fatalities. It was gruesome since the world was not at all prepared for a big blow like this. But with collective efforts and support from the government and hospitals, the pandemic was faced with the sincerest efforts. The relentless efforts of doctors were appreciated across the globe.
The world was impacted in many more ways apart from health. The shutting down of all operations apart from the essential ones required to keep the nations running, the professional world was hit the hardest in many years. Nearly 400 mil full-time jobs were lost globally. Incomes of people witnessed a fall of about 10% which amounts up to $3.5 trillion. This was because many companies were not able to keep their system running with all their offices shut and employees trapped inside their homes. Thus, it was getting difficult to pay the regular employee salaries, let alone providing increments. The stock markets in the months Feb-Mar saw one of the fastest declines fell by 12-13%.The world also saw an Oil War when there was a situation of distrust and disagreement among the OPEC and OPEC+ countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Russia. This resulted in the oil barrel prices plummeting towards the sky and impacting all nations’ imports.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2020
There were many other occurrences in various countries that caught everyone’s attention. One of the most devastating events was the Australian forest fire. It continued for weeks and killed over a billion animals, disturbing the balance of the ecosystem. It remains one of the deadliest forest fires in the history of modern civilization.
On the political front, Biden emerged victorious, ending the Presidency term for Donald Trump. Great Britain announced its exit from the European Union which affected the whole continent. New trade partners were formed, new routes were designed and business was attempted to be boosted to compensate for the losses that occurred as a result of the political decision. Also, Beirut witnessed a horrifying accident where large amounts of stored ammonium nitrate caused a massive explosion, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries.
Since almost all human activities were put to a pause everywhere, it gave nature time to heal itself from all the changes and damages caused to it by daily human activities and interference. The air quality index in many cities improved dramatically since many factories and automobiles had stopped puffing smoke everywhere. A city like Delhi with one worst air quality available for breathing witnessed the same. Since many industries were shut, there was much less disposal of waste in water bodies, preventing the build-up of toxins and poisonous substances in them. Thus, even water bodies showed great changes in their quality.
Some researches, especially the one in Brussels, Belgium proved that reduced human activities have significantly brought down the seismic noise which is the hum of vibrations of the earth’s crust. A seismometer is used to detect these noises of humming which are indicative of how the plates of earth move and which factors are affecting them.
IMPACT ON DAILY LIFE
The year 2020 was also the year where numerous psychological observations were made since people were getting a chance to spend time in their own house after many years. Being confined into the same house for over a year had a varying impact on the masses. Many people enjoyed thoroughly their time with their loved ones while many others felt stuck. Interestingly many countries saw the highest rise in divorce cases being filed during the lockdown.
Regardless, it gave people a chance to connect with themselves again. In this fast-moving world, one tends to forget the true essence of life and instead spends the whole life doing things they do not like. It made us realize the real importance of being with family and taking care of each other. It helped us realize the need to appreciate small things in life rather than always waiting for something big and significant to happen.
One of the most important lessons learned while being at home for over a year is the importance of having good health. A little bit of exercise everyday can increase your average life expectancy by many years and having a well-balanced diet is the key to living those years in a healthy and disease-free manner. It also helped us connect with ourselves spiritually through yoga and meditation, the forgotten or neglected parts of ancient India that are now being adapted and practiced all over the world.Thus, the lockdown period has had different or no impact on different people and surely has affected the world in terms of health, environment, economy, and psychology. In any case, it has given us a chance to have a fresh start by changing our perspective towards life.