Tag Archives: COVID-19

Is COVID-19 A Blessing In Disguise?


by Dr. Shanthi Thomas

Can a pandemic be a blessing in disguise?

Make no mistake. For the millions of people who suffered all over the world and for the tens of thousands who died from it, COVID-19 has meant unequivocal suffering and death. For the millions who lost jobs, and all means of livelihood, Covid-19 has been nothing short of a full-blown disaster. Economic recession has reared its ugly head around the world, and no one knows the psychological cost of the pandemic.

Yet, many experts have pointed out the silver linings in the dark cloud that has enveloped the world these days. Let us take a look at them.

1. Improvement in environmental quality

It looks like the COVID-19 gave a much-needed break for nature. The near world-wide lock down led to a considerable lessening of travel, which meant that air pollution dropped considerably. For example, in China, there was a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and 50 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions. All around the world, people report better air quality and clearer water. Sea turtles that shunned crowded beaches have begun to visit them now that they are devoid of all activity. All this was a direct effect of the lessening of human activities around the world.

2. Awareness of the need for hygiene

There are many rallying cries during this COVID times, such as ‘wash your hands’, ‘observe social distancing’, and ‘wear your masks’. The need for hygienic practices has been driven home now into the public psyche like never before. No doubt that this awareness will stand humanity in good stead in dealing with not just COVID-19, but also other epidemics and pandemics.

3. Realization of the benefits of technology

Never before in the history of the human race has technology been the saviour to this extent. School and college students are using Zoom, Google Meet, Edmodo and Microsoft Teams to continue their education seamlessly. Families keep in touch with each other through video calls. The internet has become the only solution to the lock down in many places, as people order food and medicine online. Even in the fight against the Corona virus, several apps have taken centre stage in contact-tracing and detecting the pandemic.

4. The new normal for the world of work

All around the world, businesses and institutions have begun to accept that it is normal, perhaps even better and more economical, for employees to work from home. This is especially of advantage to parents, as they can manage both home and office at the same time. The COVID-19 lock down definitely has brought more flexibility to our work culture.

5. Increase in family bonding time

Perhaps the most important advantage experienced by many families around the world is the dramatic increase in the family quality bonding time due to COVID-19. Many parents believe that COVID-19 lock down has brought families together, since the distractions of school, office, social get – togethers and functions were not there. Parents began to engage in meaningful activities during the lock down time with their children. COVID-19 has definitely helped us realize what our true priorities are.

6. Drive towards self-sufficiency in food supplies

Since the food supplies of various communities around the world was disrupted due to COVID-19, many countries have started to work towards greater self-sufficiency in food production. In the simplest of its forms, food self-sufficiency begins with each family producing at least a part of its own food, by growing a vegetable garden. COVID-19 has given a strong push in this direction.

7. Community mindedness

It is true that a common enemy can bring people together. COVID-19 is the common enemy right now, and it has given rise to a sense of community all around the world. There are healthy youngsters helping vulnerable people to pick up groceries and collect their medication. We also hear about elderly ladies and school children making masks, and big companies producing Personal Protection Equipment for health workers.

8. The spiritual benefits of COVID-19

By far, the most important positive effect of COVID-19 may have been spiritual. Human beings till now have been on a roll, thinking themselves as unbeatable and invincible, forgetting about their spiritual connection with all the living and non-living beings in the universe. Then comes a puny micro – organism, the Corona virus, that cannot even be seen with one’s naked eyes. It brought the wealthiest and the strongest countries of the world to their knees, and overwhelmed the best medical care systems of the world. If nothing else, the Corona virus has reminded us of our true place in the universe and has taught us some humility.

Top Trending Words of 2020

Top Trending Words Of 2020

1. Coronavirus (n)

Coronavirus refers to any of different RNA-containing viruses of the family Coronaviridae, including many that cause respiratory illnesses. The most known types of coronavirus are SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.  The virus that results in COVID-19 is referred to as the novel coronavirus because it is new (novel), which means it has not been detected before. Novel coronavirus is abbreviated as nCoV. When looked at using a microscope, coronaviruses seem to be surrounded by spikes much like corona, or a crown-like shape, hence the name coronavirus.

2. Covid-19 (n)

Short form for Corona Virus Disease 2019, COVID-19 is the new guy in town. The number 19 refers to the fact that it was detected first in the year 2019. Currently spreading like wild fire around the word, it is a highly infectious respiratory disease and is caused by a new corona virus. It is fatal mostly in elderly people and in those who have underlying conditions such as heart disease. It was first discovered in China in December 2019, and has become a household word now.

3. Social Distancing (n)

Social distancing refers to one of the measures taken to combat a pandemic such as COVID-19, which is to increase the physical distance between people to slow the spread of the virus. In supermarkets the world over, you can see bright colored tape marking the distance one has to keep from others. Working from home, cancellation of mass gatherings like church services and school closings are other examples of social distancing measures.

4. Flatten the Curve (v)

Flatten the curve refers to slowing the spread of an epidemic disease so that the healthcare system of a particular area doesn’t get overwhelmed. The curve shows the number of cases over time, and flattening that curve means preventing an increase in new cases, thus causing a spike, in a short period of time.

5. Infodemic (n)

A proliferation of a variety of information which is often unsubstantiated, relating to a crisis, controversy, or event, and which spreads very fast and uncontrollably through news, social media and the internet is known as infodemic. It is regarded as causing disturbance and anxiety among the public. The COVID-19 pandemic has currently unleashed an infodemic, undoubtedly.

6. Herd Immunity (n)

The resistance to a particular infection in a group of people when a very high number of individuals have been exposed to the infection is known as herd immunity. This is an expression widely used currently as an option that different countries have, in dealing with the pandemic COVID-19.

6. Self-isolate ( v )

This is another word that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into parlance. To self-isolate means to avoid contact with others deliberately for a period of time. This is one of the measures employed to combat the spread of the disease.

8. Shelter in Place (n)

Shelter in place is a public safety protocol that is invoked during an emergency in which there is a threat to life or health. It is an instruction to people to find a place of shelter in their present location or immediate surroundings, and to stay there until the situation is safe.

 9. Elbow Bump (n)

This is another expression that has gained popularity in current times. The elbow bump is a form of informal greeting in which two people touch elbows while meeting, instead of shaking hands. This is to prevent the spread of germs by touching hands.

10. Quarantine (n) (v)

Quarantine refers to the isolation imposed on a person to prevent the spread of a disease. People are quarantined when it is known that they might have been exposed to an epidemic or a pandemic. This prevents the spread of the disease. Usually it is the Health department of a particular country or state that issues quarantine orders.

Self-quarantine is when a person chooses to isolate himself out of caution. It is also known as voluntary quarantine.


R0 is pronounced as R-naught, R-nought, or R-zero. The R stands for Reproductive. R0 refers to the average number of people that a person affected with an infectious disease is expected to spread the infection to. R0 is also called the basic reproduction rate. If R0 is greater than 1, it means that the disease can spread in a population and cause an outbreak.

12. Super-spreader (n)

A super-spreader is a person who has been infected with a pathogen (such as a virus, or bacterium) and spreads it to a large number of people who aren’t infected. There have been reports of individuals who are super-spreaders in the current pandemic also, affecting a disproportionately huge number of people once he or she got infected.