By Cal Orey
In December 2019, the threat of the novel coronavirus in Asia soon became a sobering reality around the world... So, what will our lives be like in 2021 and 2022?
As the virus spread in
Italy and offshore on cruise ships, we didn’t know of the scope of how the
virus named Covid-19 would affect America. As the virus made its way to nursing
homes in Washington and New York City became the epicenter – people were
to a global pandemic. And then, our lives changed.
We quickly were introduced to quarantining in our homes to isolation from friends and family. Cities and towns were shutdown. Stockpiling food was the new normal. It was time to mask up, wash our food and hands – and fear the unknown. At first, going to the doctor, work, restaurants, gym, hair salon and dog groomer were off limits. Only essential services – groceries and medications --were available to us unless we were an essential worker – doctors, police, firefighters and store clerks. Now, more than a year later, welcome to what the future may be like for us now in the Spring of 2021 and into 2022.
Social Distancing: These days, more services are open to people depending on where they live and what tier they’re in to determine what activities are safe. Most businesses – except bars, indoor restaurants, and concerts to large crowded events – are open but capacity is limited. Masking up (now we’re told to double up) is the norm but still countless people do not follow the restriction for political reasons. In 2022, wearing a mask inside most businesses will likely be arequirement as a safety precaution – especially where there are isolatedoutbreaks -- and on all public transportation. (I wrote this article a week before Dr. Fauci's statement was publicized.) And note, some people will continue to stay home, stay safe and keep distancing, especially during outbreaks and when variants are spreading.
Health (Body/Mind): People and doctors adapted to telemedicine. In fact, both patients and healthcare practitioners like the convenience of this high-tech type of appointment. On screen doctors are going to still be used; however, preventive healthcare visits may begin to be more frequent. The downside is post traumatic stress disorder is going to be commonplace. Mental health due to stress, anxiety, and depression due to the pandemic stressors of isolation to losing friends and family, will be more prevalent than ever before. People will seek help through conventional and holistic ways to cope and move forward.
Work from Home: The new work from home or remote working will continue for countless businesses. During the ups and downs of adjusting to the new remote business environment, we’ve learned it is healthier because there is less commuting, cleaner air, and more time for chillaxing. While essential workers will continue to attend the workplace, non-essential workers will stay at home and embrace the new normal.
School Days: Kids, parents, and teachers have all been challenged by dealing with at home schooling or hybrid learning (on and off days at school). By 2022 attending schools will likely be back to normal – but there will be safety precautions for all. Also, for isolated virus outbreaks, at home schooling will be used as needed.
Play Indoors/Outdoors: In 2021 we are still canceling large events, such as sports and music concerts. By 2022, we may find ourselves enjoying crowds once again. However, safety precautions like in other open businesses will be used and accepted. During the next year, probably more than 60 percent of Americans will have been vaccinated but masking up in a crowd will likely still be requested to keep people safer.
Dining Out: Since eating in restaurants is one of the riskiest activities, businesses will be following safety precautions for safety’s sake. But if the virus continues to wane, capacity at eateries may be back to near normal. During the pandemic the surge of home-cooking was a healthful change. People were forced to eat more healthier, immune-boosting, heart-healthy foods and had more control with ingredients and portion sizes. And this trend may last. Also, while gyms have been shut, we have turned to creative at-home workouts which may last.
Travel: Currently, there is talk of “Test Before You Fly” if we want to fly internationally. Showing proof of a negative Covid-19 test is used by some states for domestic travel. Also, some states enforce travelers to quarantine for 14 days. In 2022, the quarantine restriction may be lifted if we show proof of a negative test and/or vaccination. This will vary amongst airlines, states, and countries…Road trips to camping in the great outdoors will still be more common than flying due to changes and rules, much like after 9-11. Cruises will not be as popular as they once were. Hotels will be more popular than motels because they have more of a budget to follow safety precautions. But the hospitality industry will take a long time to recover so most lodging will suffer economic consequences.
While Covid-19 may never disappear – and the variants may present a more contagious and deadly virus -- nobody knows the answer yet. But the odds are that we will continue to fight Covid-19 and new variants.
We will enjoy socializing, sports and cultural events, and traveling by 2022. But note, we will never forget the horrors of the pandemic and loss of lives. And there is the threat for new superbugs that may pay us a visit. The best part? Some people believe there will be a resurgence of activities like the Roaring Twenties and we will do all the things we’ve missed dearly. Yes, life will go on – but it will be a new, guarded world after the relentless coronavirus blindsided us.
-- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.