3 ways the coronavirus has helped you in the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames that you may not have noticed.

Ever since the virus clamped it’s jaws on the world last January, it has refused to let go. However, I can proudly say that Kingston is amongst the lowest boroughs in regards to coronavirus deaths. This rollercoaster of (an almost) year has affected Kingston locals in various ways both good and bad but during this period of overwhelming negativity I’d like to unveil the pros.

Life nowadays can become extremely stressful and coronavirus has given people a chance to slow down and focus more on themselves. Kingston University students have a lot more time to focus on their studies and mental health. We have also been forced to find something new to occupy ourselves. Whether that be picking up a new book, going on a run or simply getting closer with your family, Covid 19 has introduced a new time of self-reflection that has never been seen before.

Lockdown also resulted in less road traffic across Kingston which I’m sure many people (including me) were elated about, with more lanes opening up for cyclists. The streets were considerably emptier of cars and this made it much easier for our health professionals and other essential workers to get their jobs done. This decreased congestion also indirectly made Kingston a much greener area having seen a 47% decrease in NO2 between the control period and lockdown, with Cromwell Road specifically falling by 57%.

A consultant paediatrician at Kingston Hospital, said “Coronavirus has forced people to become more dependent on technology” and that “telephone consultations have been introduced”. “This means that when we see our patients we don’t always have to bring them into hospital”

They continued “there’s a new system now called attend anywhere where we can actually have a camera and a microphone to see and speak to patients”. 

In regards to the benefits for doctors, “we try to do wellbeing breakfasts at work, there was a very good morale in Kingston for looking after yourself”

A lot of people are unsure as to how well the Kingston council have handled coronavirus and with it being one of the lowest boroughs in London with coronavirus deaths, I’d say they’re handling it pretty well. Daily coronavirus updates on their website keep us aware and in the loop. 

Compared with the last outbreak of swine flu in 2009, many people would say it was handled a lot better with less immediate and lasting impacts. For example, students at Surbiton High School still did their GCSE examinations but were instead secluded to small groups in classrooms. This could happen due to the less contagious nature and fatality of the swine flu.

With increased self-reflection, better air quality and industry creased dependence on technology. We can safely say that coronavirus has had some positive impacts.

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