To quote English author and futurist Aldous Huxley, a brave new world may be on the horizon. 

We can thank — or curse — Covid-19 for the upheaval of our lives today and for the changes coming in the near future.

The question is: will we be prepared to accept the radical differences many futurists predict? They will be major, some of which will be difficult for us to handle. 

It will take some time for our virus fears to subside, but the usual everyday things of life we’re accustomed to could change. 

We are aware that changes of any sort are difficult to handle, because we humans are social creatures who enjoy doing the same things. And, we seek each other’s company.

In going forward, according to futurists, we will spend more time alone, or with immediate family or in small groups and settings. 

Big crowds for the most part will be out of the picture. That’s sad, because we enjoy the dynamics of coming together for sports games, events, concerts and plays. 

So, we can thank the coronavirus and nothing else for attempts to bring down the curtain. 

Packed restaurants and bars, with big laughter and small talk, are fast becoming places of the past. At some establishments, inside gatherings are now against the law, and that’s too bad. Not our choice.

Empty movie houses could stay shuttered or be remodeled into socially distanced office spaces or warehouses. Cable TV, pay-to-view streaming channels online and discs will become our new movie and viewing sources. 

Our old ways of shopping and dining will give way to ordering online and having food and goods delivered to our homes, like we do now. Indoor shopping, if it survives and continues, will change. There will be no more crowded stores. Social distancing will be enforced.

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses and restaurants will close, and unemployment numbers will skyrocket, upending our economic security.

President-elect Joe Biden has put out the request for every American to wear a mask for the next 100 days after his inauguration in January to help ward off the resurgence of the virus. Whether we will obey his call is subject to doubt.

The newly developed virus vaccines have been tested, approved and are in shipment. The vaccines show promise of keeping us safe but only if we play it safe. So, will most of us take the injections? Some have suggested that only about half the population will do so.

The big three we’ve grown accustomed to will be with us for a while longer: wearing masks, maintaining social distance and avoiding large gatherings. Where we go from there is anyone’s guess.

Learning, which is a shared experience, will change, too. Many children will engage in distance learning on Zoom and the computer and not in classes. We learn more in groups, though, because it’s difficult to focus on a subject when we are alone.

Our nurses, doctors and specialists who heroically fought the virus most all of this year are having another round of it. Overworked and worn down from the crush, they are mentally and physically preparing for the new wave on the horizon. Most of them are in dire need of physical and mental rest themselves.

Even as we fight off the pandemic, we still face the fact that too many people are going to too many places for us to feel totally safe. Yet, we cannot stay put. This tells us legal means will have to be adopted to make us stand down.

To make matters even more worrisome, we have been told that all of 2021 probably will be consumed fighting the virus. Weary as we all are, the battle is far from won.

Scientists also tell us more viruses kin to the corona could be headed our way in the future, so that fact may keep us at home and off the road and out of the sky.

To make our situation unbearable, we’re likely to become more isolated from each other as time moves forward. This is a hard proposition because we humans are gregarious people who enjoy company.

This year, we have experimented with holding large sporting events while wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. But this norm may not last going forward because of expense and fear. But maybe — just maybe — we can hang on to some of the events and sports that bring joy into our lives. 

An American president, crippled from polio and who walked on crutches and rolled in a chair, once told us, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” So whatever the virus has in mind for us, we’re willing to fight to maintain a normal way of life.

 

Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email is r.morris@ctvea.net.

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