A Year Later…

I started a post for today, but have decided to abandon it. It was to be a reflection on Boxing Day shopping in this COVID world.

Except I am not shopping today. Which has nothing to do with COVID. I haven’t even looked at any sale flyers to se what the temptations might be. There’s nothing I need. And I don’t feel like spending money on my wants. I’ve done enough this year to kick start the economy.

So today, last year’s Boxing Day post with 2021 comments in italics.

So this is it, the biggest shopping day of the year. In Ontario the stores are closed, the province starting yet another lockdown this morning. In 2021 the stores are still open. I don’t understand why, given that each day the past week Ontario has been setting a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases. Can it be that our political masters have learned that lockdowns down’t work?

All in the name of shutting down the pandemic. Yet we have been down this road before. There was a lockdown in the Spring, COVID-19 cases were reduced, but the disease was not eliminated. Which has me wondering why officials think it will work any better this time.

A decade from now COVID-19 will be a memory, or at least all of us hope so. Academics then will be feasting off the subject. Who knows, maybe they have started already. I am no longer convinced COVID will be a memory in a decade. I think it is more likely that it will be like seasonal flu. We’ll have to get regular vaccinations, maybe twice a year. My big regret is not buying stock in Pfizer or Moderna in early 2020. Someone will be making big dollars from this pandemic.

There will be studies on preparedness, from medical and political standpoints. My guess is no-one will look good in those. A year later it is obvious to me that politicians and health officials still only have a vague idea of what they are doing. With the pandemic about to enter its third year, this saddens me greatly.

There will be assessments of the economic fallout from restrictions and slowdowns and restraint of trade. I expect those will show a devastating impact, that perhaps the planet won’t recover completely from in the next ten years. Canadian government spending in this pandemic has been at unprecedented levels. Unless the country declares bankruptcy, my great-great-grandchildren will still be paying of the debt from the past year of profligate government spending.

Today there are so many unanswered questions. Will businesses recover when they are allowed to re-open? Will people ever again feel comfortable being in enclosed spaces with other people? If not, what does that mean for professional sports leagues? We thought we had the answer to this one, then the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus took hold. I think it is very obvious a lot of businesses will not recover. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see some professional sports adopt a no fans in the stands policy.

Are face masks and hand sanitizers now a permanent part of public life? Or will we go back to the old normal once a certain percentage of the population has been vaccinated? I think we can expect face masks to be with us for years to come. Even when/if the mandates are lifted, some people will continue to wear them – just as Asian tourists have for years.

Will the downtown core recover, now that it has been discovered many people can work from home effectively? Or will we crave human interaction too much to be happy working remotely? No-one knows the answer yet on this one. I know people who have been told their offices won’t be re-opening until 2023 – at the earliest. I can’t decide if I prefer working from home or going into the office. After four years at home rather miss the different scenery.

What will an increase in remote work do for public transit planning? And new home construction? If people need a home office, will they want bigger houses? What does that do to housing prices? Canadian housing prices have soared during tha pandemic, so I guess we know the answer to that one. Mind you, there are still bargains to be found in rural communities, and if you can work remotely…

Will countries revamp their supply chains so they are less dependent on international trade? Will food self-sufficiency be important? What about vaccine manufacturing capacity? Or making medical equipment locally? I doubt governments/consumers will be willing to accept the high prices that self-sufficiency requires.

That is now things are looking to me on Boxing Day 2020. Instead of shopping for great deals, I’m sitting at home thinking. And asking questions for which there are no answers at this point. Still thinking on Boxing Day 2021 – even though I could be shopping.

What about you? How do you imagine the post-pandemic world? Leave your message below.

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