COVID-19, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, has claimed more than 190,000 cases and 5,000 deaths in some 162 countries. But, amid the state of alarm and with the priority of the authorities to contain its expansion, provide a correction of medical care, a moment of collective reflection opens those points towards a feasible social, economic and environmental transformation.
It is very likely that in 2020 the reductions will be much greater. We can be talking about a 10% reduction in emissions due to the fall of coal and the effect of the great Coronavirus crisis. We will have to consider, in any case, how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last and how we emerged from the crisis. What is already being observed by means of satellites is the reduction of NOx, which is the most visible from space.
The nitrogen dioxide emissions a reduction that, from January to March, is especially visible in northern Italy. That is a circumstance coinciding with the national blockade of the countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. After the Asian confined 40 million people in Hubei province; a drastic measure, but one that has been found to be effective in containing the pandemic, NASA detected specific reductions in nitrogen dioxide emissions.
On the other hand, one of the important factors to reflect on with this crisis is employment and the continuation of companies. The confinement that the world population has been forced to carry out leaves other reflections to assess in the medium term.
Now, most visibly, economic and business activity is being drastically reduced due to the need to contain the virus, but other issues lie behind it. Many jobs require the physical presence of workers, especially that involving customer service in any form, but teleworking worldwide has now become a highly feasible ally.
Both WWF, the Sustainability Observatory and The Climate Reality Project agree on the suitability of implementing telework as a common modality in the company of the countries after the COVID-19 crisis. Teleworking reduces emissions in our local environments. We no longer only talk about remote places or distant places, but about our own environments and we see it with our own eyes.
The prolonged blockades against the coronavirus that have been implemented in most countries have made clear various reflections about what is coming for the world. We must understand that we have to live with the virus until a drug is found, especially the vaccine. This implies ensuring what we have achieved so far. The COVID-19 crisis is a turning point for citizens to value what really matters and to connect more and better with their environment and with themselves.
It is only a matter of time to check what we will learn from this crisis and what changes we implement as a society to preserve health, well-being, work, conciliation, respect for others and for the common home, which is the planet, with its rich and at the same time wounded biodiversity.