Have We Changed?

The pandemic is ending in western countries, the current upswing in COVID-19 cases notwithstanding. Which makes it time to consider what is next.

I have already commented on the climate of fear I have seen in Canada. That makes me wonder if the post-COVID normal will resemble 2019 society at all.

Are masks on public transit here to stay? At this point my guess would be yes. 

Will a large number of white-collar workers continue working from home? My guess is also yes.

My thought would have been that many people are less productive working at home because there are so many distractions. Those are probably less of an issue when you get used to your living and working spaces being the same.

For some people, productivity has probably increased during this pandemic. When you can’t go out to restaurants, theatres, sporting events or concerts, and are stuck at home, you might as well put in extra hours working. 

Will we as a society return to the type of social gatherings we used to have? Or will people be uneasy for a long time to come?

I don’t know about society as a whole, but in my social circle there is a definite reluctance to getting together. Outdoors is preferred. Restaurants are shunned. Even church services are operating at less than capacity, despite lots of room for social distancing. 

My big question is: when will the fear go away? I keep meeting fully vaccinated people who are unwilling to go into a home or restaurant because COVID transmits more easily indoors. Admittedly it does – but the risk seems low as I understand the science. But the fear continues.

Upon reflection, I think that is the biggest difference I have noticed between Canada and Germany. Canadians seem petrified by COVID.

Germans treat the virus with the respect it deserves, observe the public health restrictions, and try to live life as freely as possible. Canadians seem caught up in a never-ending “what if” scenario.

Have we changed? Is this fear of the unknown the new normal for Canada? I hope not, but I must admit I am starting to wonder.

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