Early in 2020 most human civilization was disrupted by the world wide pandemic Covid-19 virus. Highly contagious airborne infectiousness, much higher morbidity than conventional flu, novel enough that no known vaccine exists. Within weeks all parts of the globe had infections. Hospitals started to fill up, fatalities spiked, in some cases those who recovered were marked with permanent injury to their organs, and in some cases got sick all over again.
Commerce plummeted, people stopped going to work, and strangely the planet slowed down. Pollution dropped to historically low levels and in some cases climate shifted. But most significant, people have become highly isolated in their homes due to the incredibly dangerous side effects of engaging in social activities with others.
Is this a one time fad, like a really long winter storm … or does this portent a sea change in how humanity behaves on an increasingly more crowded planet?
Heart: It’s lovely to think this will bring about a change. The government’s whole purpose is to take care of its citizens in a crisis, securing food, shelter, and healthcare for all. Like in the movie Independence Day countries will come together to fight this common enemy.
Unfortunately humans have a hard time changing, and don’t want to learn from history. Not to mention the haves are using this time to buy online and hole up in their cozy mansions and vacation homes, working from home to take advantage of this opportunity to advance new business ideas, while the have-nots remain at risk deliveries and cleaning hospitals.
My hope is the new generation marching in the streets will bring about the change as the old guard dies off.
Cog: It seems individuals have little information about which activities are risky and which are not. Perhaps society could make this easier for everyone by labeling, like ski resorts do for run difficulties. Governments, businesses, schools, parks, restaurants, and travel providers can clearly mark their risk level, allowing some commerce to continue at a level of safety comfortable for each individual. Also, entire regions can be tagged with a rating, and potentially banned from other areas if they fail to enforce consistent safety label standards.
All businesses, institutions, governments, and residences should mark their facilities as White, Red, Yellow, Green. Red placard at entrance indicates high risk, users should be healthy and confident they have not been exposed. Yellow placard indicating modest risk, with basic procedure and protection in place to limit infection transmission (e.g. mask must be worn to enter). Green, maximum effort to reduce contagious transmissions (e.g. full masks, gloves, temperature checks, recording names of participants for later tracing if needed). White: unknown, unrated, may be okay but best do your research and be comfortable with the risks if you proceed.
All businesses should immediately shed staff and facilities they don’t need. The government should step in to cover lost wages for the unemployed, and in some cases buy obsolete property of businesses and organizations that no longer serve any purpose in a persistent plague state world wide economy.
Now innovate, both technologically, but also culturally. Are some socializing activities more at risk to pandemic than others? Are there ways to engage in commerce with others and be safe?