What Will be the New Normal?

Friday, April 24, 2020

On January 31, 2020, when USA started restricting entry into USA from China, I felt lucky that it happened then, and not 20 days earlier when I was flying through Beijing on my way back to USA. Little did I imagine then that it was only the beginning of what was to come in the next few months (years?).

Over the last 6-weeks, SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) has transformed the world as I knew it. During this time, I have been thinking a lot more about what this will do to us as a species, us as human beings, and us as citizens. Watching TV shows where people are not distancing from one another, hanging out outside their home or even going to an office, feels weird!

This is a non-exhaustive, unorganized (possibly updating) list of things I think will change as we tackle this pandemic and thereafter.

  • I hope we start giving each other 6 feet of distance, everywhere, always.
  • Masks will become commonplace during flu season, allergy season, any outbreak, or just all the time.
  • Handshakes are a thing of the past? Maybe.
  • Relationships that have strong communication will weather the storm, but those that rely on physical presence will take a hit.
  • Work places will change to become more distributed.
  • We will become more considerate about the daily struggles of our families, friends, peers and colleagues.
  • As we are already beginning to see, the types of work that are impactful and ‘essential’ will start gaining the respect they deserve. My sincere hope is that their monetary remunerations grow to the same degree.
  • Some form of Universal Basic Income concept will start to gain a lot more traction.
  • Investments in healthcare (equipment, staff, facilities, medications, vaccinations, awareness, etc.) will grow.
  • Educational efforts, especially in developing countries, will be overhauled to be able to be conducted remotely.
  • A reduction in consumerism, fast fashion, and all their friends, wouldn’t be a bad thing.
  • I will start buying more locally, supporting local businesses and shops, instead of chains.
  • Global order will change. USA’s response to the pandemic has been one of woeful unpreparedness. The center of global power is shifting. Where will it go is anyone’s guess, but it could just as well be the start of a long-term power struggle.
  • Travel. Oh, travel. As someone that wants to travel everywhere, I am probably going to revisit all my future plans and be conservative about where I go and if I truly want to go.
  • We will cherish what we have, when we have it.
  • The outdoors, the parks, the hikes, the rides, the runs. I am only beginning to realize just how important these are to me.
  • We will accept that we do not have to be in the same restaurant, coffee shop, bar or city to hang out with our favorite people. A FaceTime or Zoom call can be as heartwarming as a hug.
  • The real leaders that care about us, are decisive, responsible, thoughtgul and considerate will stand out from the crowds.