posts » COVID-19: good things

COVID-19: good things

I've written a lot this week about COVID-19: it's a scary prospect for all of us, with young people dying as well as the elderly. But there are also some good - if not great - things coming out of it. Today I thought I'd talk briefly about some of those.

Homemade falafel wrap First off, having just eaten lunch, I realised I'm eating much healthier than before: lots of salads and fresh food - well, I'm trying to use stuff up before it goes bad! Perhaps I was a little too enthusiastic with my shopping earlier this week, although I don't think so. But it's good. Today for lunch I had a falafel wrap with houmous, salad and avocado. Delicious!

I have the opportunity to save money and eat healthily at the same time. Of course, this doesn't apply to everyone - there are many people in the world (including the Western developed world) who are going to struggle and are currently desparately running out of money because their governments aren't helping them. Cuba puts the USA to shame - and the UK, too. What is needed is drastic action as seen with the nationalisation of all private hospitals in Spain

Online, people are finding ways to beat the isolation. Sorry - should be calling it "social distancing": we can still do stuff! In fact, now even more people can do things: you can visit museums like British Museum or the Natural History Museum. There are plenty of others around the world. There's lots to do in Paris too. And if you want, you can even go (virtual) clubbing in Berlin!

There are also more personal things you can - and should - do. Call your family. Call a friend. Call a neighbour. Teach someone to videoconference - or learn yourself. There are plenty of good, free tools you can use

Emissions over Europe, 2020

In the wider world, the environment has been benefitting - from the reduced pollution with fewer planes in the sky, fewer cars on the road and fewer emmissions from other sources too. For instance, by the beginning of March, there had been a 25% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in China. A quarter! In Italy, similar drops have been seen in emmissions, particularly over Lombardy, the region that was first affected. And, subjectively, I can tell you that Paris already seems cleaner than it was last week - traffic is virtually non-existent on the road outside my apartment building, although I've not ventured out since Monday and can't actually tell you what it's like on the main street around the corner.

MedRXiv logo

The open science movement is also benefitting, with an increased number of articles being published on PubMed as well as pre-print servers such as MedRXiv and BioRXiv. The benefits of these experiences will be reaped for years, I believe, with the knock on effects in other areas of medicine.

Finally, and most importantly people, please stay safe, stay strong, and do your best to social-distance.

Chime in entirely with your ‘Good things’ post.

I’ll check back often to get your unique angle.

What is your view on:

““ in general

and, Covid19 v Seasonal Flu v Smoking Related deaths; specifically,

as an Epidemiologist?

Warmest Regards to all


Comment by Tonymccolley Sat 21 Mar 2020 19:39:01 UTC

Hey Tony,

Thanks for looking! And, great question. This is currently being heavily debated by a lot of people. Basically, all the things you mention are also really big killers, but this year (and possibly next - and the next and the next if we're really unlucky) COVID-19 is going to additionally kill a lot of people. As for, it seems to be a pretty interesting site and I think their data are probably pretty reasonable. That said, they are a company and use a proprietary algorithm to provide "estimated current numbers based on statistics and projections from the most reputable official organizations." (from their FAQ - you can find the link in small writing at the very bottom of their page).

Best wishes,


Comment by asm [] Tue 24 Mar 2020 00:32:28 UTC