Will COVID Change the World?

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Seems like an obvious answer: yes, it will. It already has in some ways, but there’s a lot more to come as we, and a variety of other countries, realize that a lot of the systems we’ve set up and rely on really aren’t working.

I’m not just talking about policing, but that’s up there. Policing, on the whole isn’t working. While I’m not interested in rehashing all of that here again, we need to take away most of the things we’ve made the police responsible for so they can get back to doing what they’re supposed to do, and then we need to set some real definitions on what that is.

But beyond that obvious thing, there’s a lot more changes. Some of them equally obvious.

Masks. Love them, hate them, resent them, agree to them, they are going to be part of things going forward. I used to see a couple here and there when I went to a major city. They’re all over my small town now and were even before the local mandate for them happened.

We’ve developed new habits and hobbies and anti-habits and appreciations.

We have a new definition of front line, even if a lot of corporations are trying to go back to the old definition if we let them. I don’t think we’ll let them. Along the same lines, we’re having to revise our definition of things like ‘essential’.

There’s a turn back to trusting experts. Oh, not everyone, but more than a year or so ago. My current experience is the antivaxxers are quieter, for example, hopefully having their sincerely held beliefs rubbed into reality.

Individuals think more about communities than they did until recently, and definitions of community are broadening, and will continue to.

We’ve found some pretty fundamental flaws in our health care system, and I’m not just looking at long term care even if that’s the most glaring one. There will be reform. Eventually, it will probably include true universal healthcare broadened to pharmacare and dental care.

It’s amazing how many things actually can be done online. For some of them, there won’t be any reason to go back. So many things that were impossible or impractical really weren’t, we just couldn’t present a reason to do them. COVID was a good reason, and now we’ve seen how easy some of it is, things will keep going. This will change the structure of offices across the globe.

People are thinking more about how they can help other people.

UBI is going to become a viable idea. I may already have happened.

Telemedicine is on the rise. This is another thing that probably won’t need to go back. Half of my visits to the doctor in the last ten years could have been accomplished virtually. I’d be fine with calling in on his tool of choice and he can decide if an in-person examination is necessary. I imagine a lot of people would be fine with it.

Maybe some government can be done virtually. Committee meetings, even full parliamentary sittings. They’ve experimented and will likely continue to. MPs can spend more time in their ridings getting stuff done and still be available to vote and have question period and work in committee and a lot of other stuff. Our antiquated voting system is going to need overhaul. And I mean structurally, not just the fact that the electoral system is broken.

Government service is going to become more important because government is going to keep being more involved in stuff. Because this is going to happen again. We’re not even through this one.

People are angry at how poorly most governments and corporations have performed. COVID gave a lot of those people time to express that anger. There’s more to come, and I think there’s going to be a lot of reform. Things are going to look very different from the ground up a decade from now. Capitalism isn’t dead, but more people understand that it isn’t sustainable anymore. Things will change. What’s meant by government will have to change with it.

We’re far more careful and intelligent shopping than we were, buying what we need to get through the week because we don’t want to step into the plague pits and go shopping again tomorrow.

We’re going to go back to making sure we can cover our own needs more. Just In Time replenishment and ordering will still exist, but JIT will be measured against a projected supply rather than getting there just as what we have is about to run out. Especially in health care environments.

Fossil fuels are on the way out. That’s going to accelerate. We’ve seen we need less. And there will be less commuting in the near future, so that demand isn’t going to happen. We’ve noticed how much nicer the air can smell, how much clearer the water can be. There will be pressure to make changes so that we can notice that all the time. Related: we’ve noticed that outside isn’t as scary as we thought, and that maybe we like to spend time there.

People have started to recognize how important the arts really are to their lives.

Most of us are learning to cook more, which means less dining out as we discover it doesn’t have to be nearly as hard as we thought it was.

Most of us are learning to appreciate more. What we have, who we are, the life all around us.

Things are going to change. They’re already changing. We have the chance to actually build a better world. I’d like to think we’ll take it.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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