Patel: Unpopular opinion—COVID-19 is what we needed


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The issue of overpopulation has been a controversial discussion point for decades, and the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new angle to the conversation.

Vidhi Patel, Staff Writer

Due to COVID-19, almost half a million people have died and the economy has plummeted along with the mental health of people everywhere. We have been in this predicament since March of 2020. Surrounded by sickness and death, we have to wonder if there is hope for the future. 

Perhaps we should think differently. Yes, the pandemic has been devastating; it’s ruined about a year of our lives. But perhaps from this disaster, we can learn important lessons.

For one, we, as a country, have realized that we are not equipped to handle a pandemic. Let’s be real: America responded to the pandemic horribly, especially in the initial stages. From barely restricting travel to not even mandating masks, we were practically begging for an outbreak. 

We now know something must change to protect us in the future. While scientists are working hard on the vaccine, others are working to make sure this does not happen again.

While humanity has suffered, the environment has been given a respite. Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen immensely compared to pre-pandemic levels. Less travel has equated to lower levels of these gases being released. With travel impossible, people realize they don’t need to travel, so the difference between want vs. need is more clear. 

The pandemic has also shifted many ways of life to online. In the newly expanded virtual world, your job or class can be done from home. Although most things will go back to normal, these virtual options will still be available. 

For those concerned about overpopulation, the pandemic could be seen — albeit cynically — as a natural trimming of numbers.

In some sense, perhaps COVID-19 is what the country needed. I do not mean that the deaths were needed, nor the mental, physical or economic suffering. Yet through these hardships, we have discovered our weaknesses when it comes to handling a pandemic — and the crisis has lessened some of our problems, such as overpopulation and climate change.

In summary, the pandemic was not what we wanted, but it contains a wake-up call for the world and a learning opportunity for those who choose to take it.