OPINION

Looking at the upside of the downside of life

COVID-19 has created a worldwide health and economic disaster. Because I like to look on the bright side of bad events, I will give you good news inside the bad news.

Online suppliers of goods and services are doing especially well now. The demand is great for food bought online for home delivery. Online education providers will do well.

News providers are the centre of attention. I wake up each day eager to find in the news the latest bad development.

Funny folks who make online jokes are having a field day with the binge buying of toilet paper.

Political parties not in power are lucky. The party in power in each country inevitably makes some or many bad decisions during a crisis. People die; the economy falters. Even if the ruling party makes no mistakes, it gets the pressure and the blame. Other parties can only benefit.

Manufacturers of high-quality face masks and ventilators are selling their products like hot cakes. That's capitalism.

People choking on air pollution may benefit the most from the economic slowdown. Citizens of China and India, for instance, die by the millions every year from air pollution that is much less now or will soon be less due to a manufacturing slowdown.

Companies that buy large amounts of petrol may save a bundle with cheap oil prices. Low demand means low prices.

Investors who sold stock short for one reason or another before the crash made a big profit. Did they see the crisis coming or were they just lucky?

Hermits are finally in fashion. I wonder whether clothing designers will create hermit styles.

Writers who created pandemic scripts that became books or movies must feel triumphant. We are following their exact plot. People living cheek by jowl with live wild animals allow a virus to get going in humans. Communist leaders hush up doctors who try to alert the world before it is too late. A cartoonish U.S. president hesitates to take action.

If we continue to play out the usual plot, very attractive scientists, one male and one female, will save us all by developing a brilliant vaccine.

The bright side of COVID-19 does not include me. I am still healthy and I have plenty of toilet paper, but I have experienced a massive reduction in retirement funds. Also, the virus seems to like to kill people my age and sex. It will have to catch me first.

John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of New England.