The current COVID-19 pandemic is getting wall-to-wall coverage on the news media. It’s where we get the hard facts and the opinions of “experts.”
At the same time, we’re getting a lot of fun stuff on social media—some of it probably intended just to cheer us up, but also reflecting the extra time unemployed people now have to let their imaginations go. There are some highly encouraging memes, and also some highly hilarious ones, and they’re going viral.
Between the hard core news and the fun stuff, there are some things I’ve been hearing and contemplating that are spinning off from this crisis, or may do so in the future. So, I ponder the following questions:
- With the greatly reduced pollution due to the reduction of traffic and the pull-back of industry, will the hole in the ozone layer contract?
- With so many people self-isolating at home, will we need to convert the hospital beds that we are now turning into COVID emergency beds, into maternity wards in nine months?
- With places of worship being shuttered for an extended period, and their adherents becoming comfortable practicing their religion at home–or not—will church attendance rebound to previous levels after their doors re-open?
- Will there be mass homelessness when the eviction restrictions are lifted and those who got behind during the moratorium are unable to make up their shortfall?
- With the crust of the earth apparently vibrating less than normal due to the reduction of mass movements by vehicles, people and equipment, will that affect our earthquake susceptibility, potential landslides, flooding, and salmon runs this year?
- With the vast reduction of vehicles on the road (and presumably a significant reduction in accidents), will ICBC come out financially healthier this year? Will rates go down as a result?
- Will the divorce rate soar as a result of this crisis? Or will it possibly go down as couples are forced to live together and deal with their differences rather than looking for a way out?
- Will there be a whole range of new cottage industries that emerge as a result of our realization that we need to become more self-reliant, and perhaps more “local reliant,” and less dependent on international suppliers?
- When they realize how well they were able to carry on their businesses with their employees working from home, will businesses down-size their office rental space after this is over, leaving a glut of empty office spaces?
- Will that prompt commercial property landlords to convert those buildings into rental units?
- Will university tuitions be reduced next year to accommodate students who could not get summer jobs this year? Will more university courses be procured online instead of on campus? Will university campuses eventually become derelict?
- Will the stimulus of this crisis help us all to become more creative and lead us to rely more on our own ingenuity?
- Will our future economy be stifled by this huge and unexpected addition to our national debt? Will our grandchildren hate us or forgive us for passing the buck (or lack of bucks) on to them?
- How long will it take until we have used up the last roll of toilet paper?
Got any more COVID spin-off questions you could add to this list? I’d love to hear them.
Meantime, Stay Safe! Stay home, wash your hands often, and maintain your physical distance! Some of the new data are encouraging, especially here in BC. But it is not time to take our foot off the gas pedal. Let’s beat this enemy into submission!