How will life look like in the new normal? Here’s the scenario we will likely live in the next five years.
At this point in time where the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, there is no saying that the old ways will return to the normal we have been used to pre-pandemic. The unceasing onslaught of more coronavirus variants coupled with the slow roll-out of vaccines in many countries keeps health workers and governments on their toes.
There is no going back to the old ways. The new normal, of people in masks and ups and downs of COVID-19 infections, is here to stay.
Let’s just accept that fact and adapt our ways towards the new way of life the new normal defines for everyone.
The Rise of the Computers in the the Digital Age
The trajectory of the new normal is a reliance on computers – our ticket to the digital age.
That’s the road we are treading now.
Whether we like it or not, computers will dominate most of what we do: securing our basic needs through delivery apps, communicate with friends through social media, carry on our work tasks, entertain ourselves, travel virtually to other places, and a whole range of uses to “replace” what we once did. That is, in the safety of our homes.
The real challenge is how we keep on earning without leaving our homes. Technologically savvy people who find the internet a good source of income are at an advantage. For those who are not, rush to empower yourselves. Don’t hope that what you were used before will return soon.
Flourishing Internet Technology Businesses
Companies which have invested a great deal on virus control, support to hospitals, and services to people confined in their homes have scaled up their investments and production.
Given the momentum of pursuing business in this sector, they would unconsciously wish that the normal we used to know will not return. This trend must continue to maintain their profit that ballooned when people have to spend more time online.
Companies which have invested in digital infrastructures will, even at the end of the pandemic, will desire the current arrangement of dominant internet use and will do ways to keep it that way.
Adapt or perish… in the world of uncertainty and danger. The landscape has changed. Be digitally competent to survive.
Surely, what we experience today during the pandemic will persist for a long time.
The Hidden Hand?
While viewing the film “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” on Netflix, the main antagonist Dr. Isaacs, in a recall mentioned that the Umbrella corporation will create a virus that will wipe out humanity and leave out a selection group of people who are rich and powerful. As people turn into zombies and attack uninfected ones, they multiply as the virus spreads globally and wreak havoc.
The reason behind such decision to wipe out humanity, except notable people is to renew the earth as becomes overpopulated such that food will not be enough to support it (Malthusian perspective), global warming hastens the melting of the polar ice caps, diseases arise which have no cure, and nuclear powers have no control.
Dr. Isaacs proposes a solution: an apocalypse that will end the world, on their terms but leave infrastructure and resources intact and keep the chosen few underground. They released the T-virus that caused chaos worldwide and almost wiped out humanity.
It occurred to me that the COVID-19 pandemic runs parallel to this story. Even with the promising vaccines developed by scientists, the virus rages on, mutating fast and keeps on infecting people. Health care facilities can no longer keep up with the number of people ill with the coronavirus.
It’s chilling to think about the pandemic as something similar to what happened in the film. People die and keep on dying. We’re fortunate that at least the virus is not something that will transform people into zombies. But that possibility is not remote as viruses are being studied to serve as bioweapons.
Is there a hidden hand behind all this just like the film? No one’s for certain but it’s a possibility.
Despite previous efforts to keep the population at bay in the early 80s, it keeps on increasing geometrically. What if this is a deliberate step to curve population growth?
Well, it’s just my wild imagination perhaps due to the influence of that final chapter of Resident Evil film. I can’t help but express this notion every time I happen to do a little analysis of what’s going on with relatives, close friends, and colleagues.
It’s akin to the idea of going to the moon as comics fiction before that actual step on the moon’s surface by Neil Armstrong.
The Scenario Created by COVID-19
The following less that three-minute video describes a life defined by COVID-19 and has a hopeful outlook that the pandemic will not last long. It is a foreboding of the new normal. The video was created at the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020 in the United States.
Vaccination as the Solution to the Pandemic?
We currently look at vaccination as a way for us to reclaim the life we live before COVID-19. It is hoped that vaccination will establish herd immunity. The World Health Organization defines herd immunity as the indirect protection from an infectious disease such as COVID-19 through vaccination or natural immunity of the general population.
If the target herd immunity is 70% of the population then, and given that about 24.4% have already been fully vaccinated worldwide in about six months, herd immunity will be reached in around a year. But given that more developed countries avail most of these vaccinations it will take perhaps three to five years more. This estimate is a conservative one, as the new COVID-19 delta variant appears to undermine the protection of most COVID-19 vaccines. Even people who have completed their vaccine doses still contract severe sickness due to the coronavirus.
That’s a challenge for students and teachers who are grappling with their online modules due to poor internet connectivity. Schools will continued to be virtually deserted as people have become acclimatized to online education as the new normal of education. People will be more compartmentalized in their homes.
Slowed Down Population Growth
There will be less reproduction as socialization and contact between the sexes will be limited due to the danger posed by COVID-19 and its mutants. People will be less fluid in their interactions given the danger of uncertainty on the status of even closest friends.
Is Thomas Malthus right in predicting that disease will significantly reduce world population? He authored an essay on the principle of population as a determinant of societal improvement. Accordingly, war, famine, and disease, will eventually limit family size.
Pandemic Fatigue Gets the Better of Us
If you want to survive this pandemic, the best way is to strictly limit your exposure to any virus that may plague your community.
However, I have observed that many people have become complacent, perhaps due to pandemic fatigue or perhaps the confidence that they have been vaccinated, many have pure disregard of control measures, apathy, among others. What this means is continued infection and mutations in the years to come.
The only way you can help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to be vigilant when others are not. Be meticulous in adhering to control measures and avoid crowded places where people tend to violate government-mandated health protocols.
Avoid Not Just COVID-19 but Viruses and other Health Threats in General
Avoid not just the virus, but all kinds of chances to get sick. Hospitals are overburdened with patients. Your chance of obtaining immediate treatment lessens as the pandemic gets worse. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself, your health, and those you love.
Here’s a story to inspire you and realize that you are not alone. Keep safe with your loved ones.
© P. A. Regoniel 22 August 2021