Haims: There is a silver lining to COVID-19
All of us are being tested, as business leaders and as human beings, in ways that were inconceivable just months ago. Without a doubt, we will emerge from this pandemic like the phoenix from the flames. We will adapt to needed change. We will become stronger and more resilient. And, hopefully, we will become more united as a country, within our communities, and most importantly, within our homes.
As communities both small and large shut down back in March, one of the changes I had noticed was that streets and highways became devoid of cars and trucks — traffic ceased. Driving and breathing had suddenly become much more pleasurable.
I took notice of this in April when family matters caused me to travel out of state. As my plane started its decent into San Diego, I stared out the window pensively thinking of the tasks I needed to accomplish. It was a beautiful morning and I noticed many sail boats in the distant ocean.
When my brother picked me up from the airport, we drove through downtown and headed to Coronado where my mom had lived. As we drove over the Coronado bridge, I mentioned to my brother how empty the streets were. He smiled and said, “Isn’t it great, but also look at how clear it is.”
While air quality has many contributing factors, the COVID-19 lockdown has caused cars and trucks off the streets of our cities and thus throughout the world, we’ve seen a dramatic fall in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other research institutions have confirmed that air pollution had declined during the early closures of the pandemic.
This is great news on many fronts. If nothing else, it does prove that should people care enough, we can all cause change for the betterment of our world.
How we work and communicate has also changed as a result from COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, we have seen great technological changes in how we communicate for both business and personal needs. Video conferencing platforms such as WebEx, BlueJeans, Microsoft, and Zoom are enabling people to stay connected.
Telemedicine has also enjoyed growth as a result of COVID-19. Prior to COVID-19, widespread adoption between medical providers and patients had received relatively little interest. Exacerbating the use of the technology was Medicare’s adoption and reimbursement rates. COVID-19 has forced change and now some of the county’s finest medical facilities are embracing the technologies and paving the way for widespread use.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting families, some more drastically than others. Some may be experiencing financial hardships while others may be experiencing financial boons. Regardless of financial effects, changes in our daily routines may be causing increased anxiety in our children and tensions amongst spouses.
As we look beyond the trees and see the forest, each of these circumstances has a potential upside. Each offers an opportunity for reassessment of what’s important.
For families with children who are fearful and don’t understand what has happened to their “normal” routines, this presents an opportunity for parents to strengthen their relationships with their children and share fears and concerns. It may provide an opportunity to teach them how to handle adversity and develop a plan rise from crisis.
The pandemic has also created opportunities for families to reconnect by spending time together and conversing. Across the country, I hear from contemporaries who are now camping together, preparing and eating meals together, and learning about each other’s interests. The time we could never find has found us and it is time to embrace it.
If your family is having difficulty putting food on the table, reach out to local religious organizations, the Community Market, or Eagle County’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Through the graciousness and consideration for others, these organizations have received donations and volunteers to help people get through these tough times.
If you’ve noticed family members seem distant, lonely, anxious, or just “off,” this may be the time you need to show compassion, respect, empathy, and humor — anything and everything to make a difference.
The importance of the family unit is imperative to building stronger communities and a better world. It is the nucleus of civilization and it must be fostered.
COVID-19 is creating all types of opportunities. Let’s work on the opportunity to embrace family and friends.