The pandemic is not over.
While I suppose you can’t blame people for wanting to just forget the past sixteen months and move on, we continue to be stuck in COVID limbo1 because of the far too many people behaving like the virus has disappeared.
But I’m not above looking forward. And hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, there are a few bits of this experience that we will keep as part of that “new normal”.
Let’s start with the concept of social distancing.
As an introvert, I’ve never cared for crowds. But even an extrovert should have appreciated the lack of crowding in stores and other public spaces as most of us moved farther apart while working hard not to catch the virus.
Keeping the six foot protocol is a little much to expect, but it will be very nice if we can still retain a little of that sense of proximity that’s been developed during the pandemic.
Then there’s the heightened awareness of personal health and hygiene.
I wonder if people noticed that the incidence of infections like the “common” cold have been greatly reduced during this time of COVID. Maybe something like that will convince people to at least continue some simple, basic behaviors like washing hands regularly and staying away from others when sick. Possibly bringing the masks back out during flu season?
Personally, I really detest hand sanitizer, so having all those stations disappear when COVID has passed wouldn’t bother me at all. But if making them permanent fixtures is what it takes to remind people of the need for personal hygiene, so be it.
Finally, we have Zoom presentations.
I know very few people who actually enjoy video conferencing as a replacement for live meetings. After almost a year and a half of trying to adapt face-to-face activities for an online format, I think most of us are actually looking forward to being bored in the same room.
However, there are, and always have been, people who need or want to participate in your activity from their remote location, for a variety of reasons. Now that we’ve worked out many of the bugs (technical and social), it would be great if video remained in the mix as part of a permanent hybrid approach to connecting.
Anyway, those are three general ideas worth keeping when we finally exit from the pandemic chaos. Any others to add?
The illustration is a segment of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. I’m not as antisocial as Rat but still would like to maintain the buffer between me and strangers that’s been part of our shared pandemic experience.
1. This segment from The Rachel Maddow Show illustrates as well as any I’ve seen recently why we are still struggling with this mess.