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The Covid-19 Mantras: “Self-isolate & Socially Distance.”

The year 2020 will forever be etched in our memories as the year the earth literally stood still as we struggle to make sense and adjust at a blistering pace to this new reality we have been unenthusiastically shoved into. The coronavirus has currently infected about 1.5 million people and almost 90 thousand deaths worldwide. The only continent free of this menace is the uninhabited Antarctica. Buzzling cities across the world have become ghost town as people retreat into their cocoons to protect not only themselves but their loved ones as well. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on humanities social, economic, political fabric since it emerged from China sometime in December 2019.

Perhaps the only winner is the environment that has for once in a long time taken a deep breath of fresh air as industries, airplanes, cars, deforestation has come to a screeching halt. Pollution in New York has reduced by nearly 50% because of measures to contain the virus. In China, emissions fell 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home, factories shuttered and coal use fell by 40% at China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. The proportion of days with “good quality air” was up 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China, according to its Ministry of Ecology and Environment. In Europe, satellite images show nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions fading away over northern Italy. A similar story is playing out in Spain and the UK (Henriques, 2020). Perhaps this is one of the lessons from covid-19.