7 Ways Life Will Be Different

1091429316When will it be “over”? It really won’t be over until there’s a vaccine. That’s probably sometime in 2021. Until then, even after we come out of our homes (in summer?), and start to begin life again, we will live in a tentative state of social distancing/sanitization/hand washing limbo trying to avoid an invisible virus.

So even for those fortunate enough to have jobs go back to work, and I suspect it’ll be in the summer before they do, and some modest social activities begin, the world will be far different in the 7 key ways:

1. Handshakes and hugs will be gone. Masks and sanitizer will be universally used. Soap dispensers in bathrooms will run out quickly.

2. Sports and live entertainment will be gone for the balance of the year. There will be no baseball this year and no football either. Maybe hockey and basketball return in early 2021

3. Pervasive frugality will override the consumer psyche. Think 2009 on steroids with a dollop of fear.

4. Jobs will be scarce. Remember the “best economy ever”? Well, it never was in any case, and now it will be worst ever since the Great Depression. Projected forecasts of 5% decline of GDP in 2020 and 14% unemployment are not unreasonable. If you have a job, keep it. Your boss is awful, stuff it and be thankful you have a boss.

5. Discretionary expenditures will plummet (see #3 and #4). New pavers for the patio? Not so fast. Trip to Europe. Not happening. Maybe not even a local vacation either. Throngs at the Shore doesn’t make for a comfortable feeling.

6. Healthcare has always been a key issue. Now it will even more important. Many jobless people can’t afford insurance even if offered COBRA.

7. There will be a new Administration in DC with a Democratic House and Senate. Crises is actually an opportunity to lead and galvanize. This could have been a layup for a second term, particularly as the cause was “an act of god”. But in this case, our response was blown by a late start, denials of the seriousness, no consistent plan, changing messages, lack of accountability, and no galvanized federal leadership. Good riddance (please).

When will this be over? 2021 or 2022. But not until a vaccine is universally available. Then and only then. And even then, with a struggling economy searching for way to rebound.

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