Washington, DC – Will life ever be the same after the coronavirus? That is the million dollar question. Or should I say trillions of dollars question. As people continue to deal with the economic backlash of the virus, many wonder what will life be life after this is over.
One “expert” says that life will never be the same. Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize winning public health journalist, suggests that in 4-5 years our lives will be completely different. She believes that not one single aspect of our lives will be the same.
As most states start to phase out stay orders, it certainly does look different. Across the states there are protests, lawsuits and other measures against the lingering stay orders. But those aren’t the changes I’m talking about.
An interesting experience
I went out today to pick up lunch at a local restaurant. My order was placed on a mobile app and I went into the store at the time my order was scheduled to be ready. I came in contact with 2 people during my time there and the exchange’s were like no other I’ve had.
The first was an employee at the restaurant, who was nearly dressed in a hazmat suit. The employee wore a hair net, face covering, had a gown over her clothes and wore gloves. She looked like she was ready to to perform an operation more than she was ready to give me my chicken wrap I had ordered.
The second was another person who had ordered lunch just like me. She entered the restaurant with her mask a few moments after I did, but continued to stand at the door rather than approach anywhere near the counter where the food was. As I grabbed my food to leave, she walked about 10 feet out of her way to pass me to go toward the counter.
Living in the south, this is a major difference from the way we normally do things. In a town were saying hello and waving at your neighbor is common place, we’ve been reduced to treating our neighbor like they are nuclear waste.
Garrett suggests that it will take 12 months or more for people to become comfortable in public again. She expects that the only way this may be shortened is for a vaccine to be developed. Pfizer and NYU suggest that they may have a vaccine ready by end of summer.
Displays of media power
These types of reports and situations continue to show the power the main stream media has over our society. Americans trust in media was down to 41% last year. But that hasn’t stopped Americans from tuning in. Viewership during the crisis was up as much as 47% for some networks with others seeing their highest ratings since the 90’s.
The problem is that a lot of these people were uninformed about news outlets before this. So instead of understanding bias and messaging in media, they take everything that they say as truth. That is the scary part.
Nothing but fear
Now, we have a society that is scared of each other. On one hand, we have conservatives pushing to reopen the economy so people can try to get back to normal. On the other, we have liberals who are pushing to extend the stay home orders and install socialist policies in the process.
People are afraid to leave their homes. They are afraid to end the stay orders due to the panic. A recent survey shows that nearly 64% of Americans fear opening the economy right now. The divide is sharply along party lines with over 90% of Democrats wanting to keep the economy closed while less than 40% of Republicans want to.
The American society will take some time to recover. It will not come overnight, but will most likely come through knowledge. That means getting appropriate information out about the coronavirus. Rather than the message of fear the media drives, it should be a message of truth.
We must face the facts
That truth is that most people who have the coronavirus do not even know they have it. Asymptomatic cases are present and the truth is that the coronavirus was spreading long before the first case was confirmed in the US. The other piece of truth is that stay orders will not prevent the virus, only prolong the length of the pandemic.
We can continue to live in a state of fear, where we do not want to interact with others around us. Or we can face the facts that most everyone will be exposed to the coronavirus before this is over. To think that we could shut down the economy for 9 months is absurd. It will never happen.
If you believe you may be at risk or are concerned, you should stay home. You can protect yourself wearing a mask and social distancing. You can take precautions and do what you feel is necessary to protect yourself. But I should not be forced to live in a forced stay home order when the order is doing nothing but hurting us economically. It’s time to face the facts and reopen the states and our country.