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How different will our world be when the pandemic goes away?

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

At the risk of being accused of pretending to be a forecaster or prognosticator, I’m ready to make some predictions based on my nine-plus months of watching, reading about, and trying to survive this deadly pandemic.

Many learned folks have beaten me to the punch with their own lists of how our daily lives will change when the coronavirus finally becomes a painful footnote to history.

I’ll try not to bore you with a ton of statistical research but each item on my list of seven permanent changes is based on what has already been happening to us since last March.

TELEWORKING – This phenomena has revolutionized the workplace. Employees have more time with their families, commuting time is greatly reduced and corporate owners like the cost savings from reduced rental of workspaces. 

GROCERY SHOPPING – Online grocery buying has more than doubled during the pandemic and many shoppers say they will continue doing so. Curbside pickup or delivery is here to stay.

MASKING UP – Despite becoming a political football this year, the wearing of face coverings likely will be with us long after the pandemic. 

SEEING THE DOCTOR – Before the pandemic, it is estimated that less than 10 percent of us were even aware of “telemedicine” and “telehealth”. Showing your physician where it hurts, even on a video screen, is here to stay. 

COMMUNICATING – My 96-year-old father-in-law uses Zoom for meetings and video chats and loves it. We did part of our holiday visiting on Google Meet last week with no complaints.

MOVIE GOING – Theatrical movies have been declining in attendance for decades. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others have captured that market. Don’t be surprised if many movie houses never reopen. 

AIR TRAVEL – Gone are the days when airlines could deep clean their aircraft every 18 months. Cleanliness already is more important than ticket prices.

Smaller airlines may not survive post-pandemic, even with government help.

As for good advice, Norah O’Donnell of CBS News may have said it best with:

“Stay positive, test negative.”

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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