• Darshini Babu Ganesh

COVID-19 and Wildlife Trafficking

"To me, the weirdest part of this whole situation is the fact that people continue to talk about maintaining normality. Let's face it. Normality has gone out the window."

My morning normal just a few weeks ago was getting on a bus to go to school. Now, my morning normal is discussing what the latest news updates are. Or were, really. It's constantly changing. And when my friend said the above statement, I couldn't agree with him more.

While sitting at my desk, scrolling through YouTube just a month or so ago, I'd come across a TedTalk given by Bill Gates titled "The Next Outbreak? We're Not Ready." It was at that moment that I first gave thought to this disease, one that until then, I simply referred to by the numbers: it kills fewer people than the common flu.

Over the next few weeks, things changed rapidly. People were scared. Shelves went empty, hand sanitizer prices shot up, stocks fell. My school has shut down for two weeks, and the closure is likely to extend. Social distancing has kept us inside for days. People are lined up outside of stores, stocking up on ammunition. The elderly in nursing homes are forced into separation from their families in a time when they need them most. Healthcare providers are working days on end, exposing themselves to the deadly threat while those living paycheck to paycheck have been struck financially. It is a dangerous moment in time for everyone.

But among all this difficulty, there have been a few bright spots. We live in a wonderful age of technology. Despite being physically apart, we are virtually connected. We are connected by the simple fact that we are all human, and we are fighting this battle together.

This quarantine has brought my family closer together than we ever have been before. Every morning, I get to look forward to all of us sitting in our living room, learning, or working together. The social distancing, though stressful, has reestablished our family bond. And I'm sure many people can say the same.

It's also reestablished our collective touch with nature. Unable to visit a movie theater or a restaurant, many of us have been spending time outside alone. Spending time in nature is good for us because we are a part of it, and without the general bustle of life, many of us have been able to go back to the light joy that's left when hearing birds in the trees or feeling the brisk wind. It's good f