A woman wearing a mask rides the escalator in the Hollywood/Highland Metro Station in Los Angeles. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
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Global positive impacts of social distancing

Even though the global pandemic has caused chaos, there have been some positive unintended consequences and impacts of social distancing as more and more cities mandate sheltering in place.

Pollution

Around the world, the rate of pollution has gone down as commuting plummeted. This means fewer trains, planes and automobiles. According to Reuters, air pollution fell by “40% over Chinese cities due to temporary restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak.” 

IQAir, a company that monitors pollution levels in cities, reported that Los Angeles and New York City also saw a decrease in pollution rates, with some of the cleanest air in any major city in the world. 

Geopolitical Unity

Although the pandemic has quickly spread across the globe without regard for national borders, countries are uniting against the virus.

Doctors and supplies from China have now arrived in Italy to help infected patients recover. Israel and Palestine, two countries that have undergone tension for the past few years with each other due to land disputes, have united to stop the spread of COVID-19 by allowing doctors to travel to and from their countries.

A coordinated effort has removed some travel restrictions to allow medical staff easy passage between areas.  

Unity Within Communities

Social media has blown up with TikToks about teenagers in quarantine. Memes relating to the coronavirus on Twitter are being shared across countries.

Similarly, countries have also reported viral acts of kindness, such as young kids in Massachusetts driving by teachers’ houses holding signs that show love and support during the quarantine.

Locally, residents in the San Fernando Valley have seen an increase in donations to local charities. Additionally, younger, healthy individuals have been helping deliver groceries to the elderly through various delivery services, such as Zoomers to Boomers.

Crime

As leaders instruct countries to practice social and safe distancing, the number of violent crimes has dropped significantly worldwide.

In El Salvador, usually holding one of the highest homicide rates, the number of murders has dipped since February. Forbes reported that drug arrests in Chicago have plummeted by 42% ever since the shutdown of the city in March, and Los Angeles crimes have decreased by 30% after March 15.