If you are like me you are tired of isolating and cleaning. We are tired of bad news. I want sports back. I want students back in school. I would just like to get back to normal. But what is normal now? What will normal look like after this virus is under control?
My first thought is that we won’t have a chance at normal until a vaccine is in place. That is a different topic. Society is changing. I can make some guesses as to what I think will change. I do think the world will never be the same.
In terms of health care, after this experience will people wear masks during regular flu season? This already happens in other countries. Will social distancing stay in place for some of us? Will our temperatures continue to be taken when we enter health care facilities?
Millions of Americans are uninsured. I am guessing they are more likely to spread disease when they are untreated. I do expect many more Americans will see the value of universal health care for all after this. I think all employers should be required to provide sick days. Staff in restaurants and personal care services should not have to choose between a paycheck and health.
In the workplace both business and employees may be more comfortable with working from home. Going into a shared workplace may be less common than it was before. Will certain health related industries be contracted by the government on an annual basis to build a stockpile of personal protective equipment? We have a strategic reserve of oil why not medical supplies? Such a medical reserve could have prevented much suffering and death in our current situation.
In recent years living in large cities became increasingly popular. At this time, Covid 19 seems more clustered in large urban areas. I think many more people will opt to live in suburbs and small towns to lower the perceived risk of contagion. Will large gatherings like sports, music and other entertainment become less popular? I am not sure. I think it is a possibility that more of us may be satisfied with media presentations of that content. Why risk the large crowds?
The government and the Federal Reserve have become increasingly active and accepted partners in the economy. In the past three financial downturns the size of government intervention has grown larger with each crisis. It saved our economy and sped up the recovery.
How many people are aware that the Federal Reserve is buying stocks and bonds in an effort to strengthen the markets and avoid panic? I predict those kinds of interventions will be come more acceptable in the future.
I think people will finally see government-funded services like health care, housing and education as an investment in our nation and not just an expense. But the government might become more involved in our lives in ways that most of see as dangerous or intrusive. I would not accept the government tracking my personal health care data and location even in times of crisis.
Similarly, I would not want a strongman (or woman) type of leader who would trample our liberties in the name of a crisis fighting. Dictators could move government resources to help only their favored supporters or ethnic group. Bad outcomes are always possible.
We don’t know what the future holds. One thing for sure the day after will not look like the day before.
Michael Griffith is a Rockford resident.