June 2020

Positive Outcomes of the Covid-19 Crisis

Author: Kent Thune

Over the past five months, there has certainly been no shortage of bad news about the novel coronavirus, Covid-19. But if you look in the right places, you’ll find plenty of good news that can warm the heart and remind us all that the world is not nearly as bad as the news reports. In fact, there’s ample evidence that the vast majority of human beings on the planet are as altruistic, empathetic, creative and generous as ever.

Sometimes, it takes an extreme challenge to bring out the best of what people have to offer the world. But it doesn’t take a heroic effort to find examples of these people or to become one of them yourself if you choose.

Here are only a handful of many positive outcomes of the Covid-19 crisis:

Global unity. Citizens of the world have realized that we are all equal with regard to the force of nature. Covid-19 has impacted every nation, every race, religion and ethnicity, and every station of humanity, no matter how rich or poor, great or small. Such an impact of widespread proportions has broken down the barriers between us and, in many ways, we see ourselves less as separate nations and more as a global community. We are starting to understand more and more how much we depend on each other.

Wonderful examples of human spirit. Just a few examples include doctors, nurses and other essential workers sacrificing their time and well-being to save lives; children and adults making face masks and signs to thank them; Italians stepping out onto apartment balconies to sing songs of hope to their neighbors; and entrepreneurs finding ways to distribute farm produce to people in need before it spoils.

Improved personal hygiene. If we didn’t fully appreciate the power of hand washing and staying at home to prevent the spread of a virus, we certainly do now! Whether it’s the flu or future mutations of coronavirus, we know that the best cure is prevention: keep hands clean, avoid touching the face, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when possible, especially if we contract a virus.

Drop in pollution. With fewer people traveling and a decline in emissions from manufacturing plants, NASA satellite data has seen a 30 percent drop in air pollution in the U.S., while New York researchers found a 50 percent drop in carbon monoxide levels. Outside of the U.S., Venice’s canals are clearer than they’ve been in decades, and as a result of two months of pollution reduction in China, an estimated 77,000 lives have been saved.

Decrease in traffic accidents. Stay at home orders naturally decreased traffic on the roads and highways across America. Not only did this help to decrease air pollution, but it also saved lives and money. According to the LA Times, traffic accidents and fatalities are down by as much as 50 percent in California, and the estimated cost savings for taxpayers is $1 billion.

Affordable gas prices. For most Americans, the cost of a gallon of gas is below $2 now. According to AAA, the average price for gas in South Carolina fell to $1.55 per gallon, just before social distancing guidelines were loosening in early May.

Lowest mortgage rates in history. By early May, the national average interest rate for a 30-year conventional home loan was 3.2 percent, with rates potentially falling to 3.0 percent or lower through the end of 2020 and into early 2021.

Businesses offering free or alternative products and services. Musicians performed live online and streamed past concerts; gyms posted workout routines on their websites and social media pages; restaurants provided curbside service and outdoor dining; other service-related industries offered virtual services on video conferencing applications.

More family time. Yes, we see reports of parents struggling to entertain and home school their small children, but having kids home from school has brought together the family unit. Eating meals together, watching movies, listening to music, and pulling out the old board games has reunited many people in ways that may have seemed almost impossible before.

Happy animals. Dogs, cats, and other domestic animals are happy that their parent/owners are home. Animals at the zoo are being viewed virtually, which helps to entertain humans while providing peace to the animals. Wild animals have more space to roam without disruption from human activity.

The rise of true leadership. In the most challenging of times, the greatest of leaders emerge. The Covid-19 crisis has reminded Americans and people all around the globe that the politicians, celebrities and athletes are not the true leaders or heroes of our time, and perhaps they never really were to begin with. The doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the firemen, the emergency personnel, the volunteers, the entrepreneurs, the dreamers, and the everyday citizens are the true leaders; they are the past, present and future formers of our country and of our world.

A greater sense of perspective. When life seems difficult, you have the power to choose your perspectives. As the twentieth century psychotherapist Viktor Frankl observed in his concentration camp experiences during the Holocaust, “A human being is a deciding being.” Frankl’s most famous observation is perhaps this one from his epic book, Man’s Search for Meaning: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

While it’s easy to complain about hardships that arise from the tragedies and natural disasters that we experience, these challenges have occurred throughout human history. More important, human beings, time and again, have risen to the challenges and have come out of them stronger than ever.

The evidence of this timeless truth is there if you look for it beyond the noise of politics and mainstream media. If you are seeing or feeling more bad news and negativity than good news and positivity, it’s likely that your sources of information need to be changed, removed, or better balanced.

Kent Thune is a Certified Financial Planner® and is the owner of a Hilton Head Island investment advisory firm, Atlantic Capital Investments. He is also a personal financial counselor to Marines and other service members on Parris Island. As a freelance writer, Thune’s work has been published at The Motley Fool, Yahoo Finance, Kiplinger.com, MarketWatch.com, Nasdaq.com, InvestorPlace.com, and his own blog at TheFinancialPhilosopher.com.

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