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COVID-19's Impacts

Published 14 March 2020 at Yours, Kewbish. 1185 words. Subscribe via RSS.


The past three months have been hectic - from starting this blog, to winning Google Code-in, and subsequently finding out it’s cancelled, to, of course, what everyone’s talking about: COVID-19.

Many countries around the world have been hit far harder than Canada, but in this post, I’d like to talk about some of the impacts, both personal and on a larger scale, that this novel coronavirus has brought.

NOTE: I apologize if this post reads as a little alarmist and sad, but it reflects what I’m thinking of right now, and I can’t help but express that here. If you’re going through some symptoms, call your local help line, or consult a professional for advice. One can’t be safe enough.

Events Cancellations

Many major events have been cancelled, including global developer conferences like F8, GDC, and Microsoft Build. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have spent time and money searching for, buying, and finally not being able to use their well-deserved tickets. Some of these conferences are moving online, where everyone can participate free of charge, which is an unexpected pro. It doesn’t feel the same as a face-to-face networking session or panel, but at least it’ll be able to reach more people this way.

I know I frequently humble-brag about this, but I’m devastated that my GCI Trip got cancelled as well. We’re being offered alternate prizes, and that makes up for some of it, but even with a videoconference (how will we arrange the times, with winners all across the globe), it doesn’t replicate the same vibes as a four-day trip to meet new friends and bond. Seeing blurry 2MP faces through a screen, some of which will inevitably be in the middle of the night, versus cruising and Segwaying around San Francisco and Googleplex just isn’t the same. As winners, we’re left at the same level as the runners-ups, minus the chance to win and have a proper trip (if that’ll even happen) next year.

Sorry about the salt. I’m just a tad disappointed. I should stop apologizing - this is my blog after all.

Just one of the many memes we made.
Taken from u/ZeroDawn0D on Reddit

I know it’s not supposed to matter, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance that I could have had. And now it’s gone, all because of COVID-19. Health is crucial, but even our pleas to postpone went silenced. I guess life isn’t fair.

Economic Impacts

Though the economy’s recent un-stonks can’t be 100% attributed directly to COVID-19, seeing the Dow Jones crash has been pretty terrifying. Hearing stories of people losing thousands, and the government implementing last-minute techniques is kind of surreal.

I recently saw this video by Fireship:

and it got me thinking about some of the future impacts. If the markets continue to fall, and demand for tech jobs drops further, I worry. I’ll graduate university in six years, which seems like a long time. However, I’ve been reading about the long-term effects of a recession, and I wonder if, when I enter the workforce, I’ll be able to get a job. Apparently, the first years of your work affect your career, and how you end up in life heavily. I don’t want my prospects to be crushed, just because I was born and left uni at an inopportune time.

The Wrong Side

It’s a known statistic: 80% of coronavirus cases have mild symptoms. If you contract COVID-19, you’re likely not to die, if you’re healthy enough. I don’t mean to belittle anyone’s fears, if they have existing conditions or other issues, but I find that our efforts are being focused on the wrong area.

The way I see it, we focus on stocking up on toilet paper, non-perishables, and talk of washing our hands. But how many of us need to? The spread of COVID-19 is through people. People.

I’m not sure exactly how to prevent the spread, but staying at home, taking courses online, and generally remaining in a sterile, safe space should be fine. Travel bans seem harsh, and may lead some to lie about where they’ve actually been, but I can’t help but note China’s success in quarantining and cordoning off cities and provinces.

Unexpected Pros

I’ve seen a couple glimpses on the news that pollution levels everywhere have dramatically dropped - and the sad thing is, this is where they should be, if we’re to meet budgets and goals. COVID-19 has had devastating impacts, but I suppose this is one of the two smaller pros.

The other pro I’d like to touch on is it the fact that developers, and other members of the workforce, have started working remotely. It doesn’t work for all, but personally, remote, self-motivated and self-guided work will always be the most productive environment for me. That’s why I’m looking forward (? Should I?) to online classes. I truly appreciate the sacrifices and efforts of faculty and staff, and I sympathize with those who find that remote, online classes don’t work well for them. I also would like to touch on the fact that for all those who work remote, there are also people who can’t afford or don’t have the option of working away from the office. It’s a difficult balance, and as always, it’ll benefit some while stranding others.

Personal Thoughts

My main reflection, through the struggles everyone’s facing today, is how much time affects all of us. Just because I unfortunately entered Transition during COVID-19, just because I won Code-in in 2019-20; all this means that I’ll be cheated out of something I was looking forward to.

Instead of spending my spring break out with friends (I mean, I likely wouldn’t anyway, but let’s pretend), I’m self-isolating, watching the red numbers creep ever-higher, and the graphs grow exponentially.
But it’s alright. Life isn’t fair, and life wasn’t meant to be fair.

The state of the world right now is honestly scary. It feels truly like an apocalypse. Economy clinging to threads, a global pandemic sweeping across countries. And worst of all, I can’t do more than scrub my hands and stay inside. I have to watch from my office, occasionally chatting and commiserating with my classmates online.

Everything changes, day by day, hour by hour. Just a couple days ago, Canada had less than a 100 cases, according to Worldometers. Today (as of π day), we have over 250. The graphs show it all. Total active cases skyrocketing, and deaths rising to terrifying numbers.

What if I have a bit of a cough, a cold, perhaps even the flu? Any other time, I’d stay home, rest up, just go through it. Now, even the slightest of symptoms sets off all the alarms. Should I go to the hospital and get tested? Can I trust these symptom charts? And even if one non-COVID-19 case decides to wait it out (rightfully), hospitals are flooded. Tests are running out, and in some countries, they’re expensive, reducing the number of people who’ll take them. Is it the end of the world? There’s no point in musing further. Just suppose we’ll have to muster up and keep walking through life.

- Yours, Kewbish

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