As we experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all eager to be done with it. But when that happens — whenever that happens — what will normal life be like?
It can be difficult (some would say impossible) to predict the future. However, what are your guesses for what life will be like once the current restrictions are lifted?
There are many potential impacts, from the personal to the global. For example, here are some questions:
Once large gatherings are allowed again, will a significant number of people be hesitant to join in? That is, enough to see a decline in ticket sales to sporting events, rock concerts, and the like?
Will shaking hands or hugging be replaced with some sort of non-contact greeting?
The health care industry is being pushed to, and sometimes past, acceptable limits. Will they experience any lasting changes or effects?
What will this mean for preparedness for future epidemics or pandemics? What about other natural crises, like climate change? We have certainly seen that it is possible to make sweeping changes when the proper motivation exists.
Are our relationships, between family, friends, neighbors, and all the way up to countries, helped or harmed?
Will there be more political will for raising the minimum wage on “essential” workers? Teachers seem to have a newfound appreciation, but will that translate to better pay? Will policies like paid sick leave and universal child care see more traction? Will work from home become more common and accepted, resulting in less traffic on roads and shorter commute times?
Alternately, will things immediately (or eventually) go back to how they were before, with no real lasting changes to our society or way of life?
What will be the new normal?
Related questions: What is your five year prediction? Ten? COVID-19?
1 thought on “What Will Be The New Normal?”
We will not see a new normal for a while. Why? First, because some unprecedented things have yet to play out fully. For example, we are just in the initial stages of a multi-wave pandemic mixed with a likely deep, global economic depression. At the same time, state and local governments, which thus far have led the way in the COVID-19 response, are going to have severely diminished resources in the near and likely long-term future as fewer tax revenues come in. Therefore, they will have reduced capacity to continue leading the way while also meeting other state demands.
Meanwhile, I fear, scapegoating physical and verbal attacks on minorities will increase dramatically, but for different reasons for each. For example: Asian-Americans will falsely be seen by racists as the reason the pandemic made its way to America; African-Americans will find themselves profiled or, worse yet, attacked for wearing masks in public; Latinx will be singled out for competing for or holding the jobs as those who are (also) unemployed. Will a groundswell of solidarity with minorities overwhelmingly counter these racist actions? I hope so.
At the same time, there’s going to be an election where the value of a federal government should just as much be the issue as the candidates carrying the competing answers.
No matter the result of the election, I fear that more pandemics, as well as the impending severe impacts of climate change, will raise these same questions/demand for action in the soon-to-be seen future.
A new normal? Yes, we will greet each other differently. Yes, large group gatherings will be put on hold for quite some time. And, yes, how we interact with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors will change, at least for the foreseeable future.
But I think the new normal is going to be how we adjust to there no longer being a normal. Our world, and the dangers humans have unleashed, will be more frequent. The demands of these changes will be different for each crisis — sometimes overlapping with other crises.
The new normal, I fear, will be adapting to and combatting community- and life-threatening change. Will we do so through affirming individual and institutional responses? Or will our worse tendencies frame the responses? These are my questions.