A lot of ugly things are happening from the Coronovirus pandemic, both medically and socially/politically. But there is also the potential for a much better world after we get through this trauma:
- Communities are finding new ways of coming together.
- Years of isolationist rhetoric has had consequences. Perhaps we will be more globally-minded.
- Attention may shift to public health. Expect to see a spike in funding for virology and vaccinology, a surge in students applying to public-health programs, and more domestic production of medical supplies
- Pandemics can also catalyze social change. People, businesses, and institutions have been remarkably quick to adopt or call for practices that they might once have dragged their heels on, including working from home, conference-calling to accommodate people with disabilities, proper sick leave, and flexible child-care arrangements.
- Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.
- One could also envisage a future in which America and the world learns a communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causing people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic.