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A recent article in the NY Times: Could Covid Lead to Progress? proposes the sure-to-be-controversial theory that the world's response to Covid 19 could spawn positive changes in society. There include: better response to pandemics, the rise of Work From Home (WFH: e.g. Zoom conferences), mRNA vaccines for everything from Malaria to H.I.V., which kill millions per year, etc. Before we embrace the Brave New World of mRNA vaccines, it's worth noting that the CDC just reported that more people have died of Covid in 2021 so far than in all of 2020.
The Times' article takes the rosy view that being always on-guard against pandemics will be beneficial to society, but will it? I think the Times' writer is looking at the changes spawned by the pandemic too narrowly.
Some of the OEN editors have brainstormed about these and related issues for some time, as the ramifications come into sharper focus.
There are too many issues to discuss here, and my articles and comments over the last nearly 2 years don't do it justice either. Here is my take. What do you think?
I am worried about:
1 - The effect on urbanization. Will people still be willing to live in diverse cities if they perceive them to be pandemic spawning grounds?
2 - Related to 1, will remote meeting software and WFH obviate the need for downtowns? What will happen to the city tax base then? What will urban planning consist of? How will dense office buildings adapt?
3 - If rural areas expand, it will be an ecological and economic catastrophe, as it already is - wildfires that can't be allowed to burn out because a handful of homeowners must be protected, sprawl and expensive utilities, services, and roads to near nowhere, car-dependent culture, gun proliferation culture, racism & other discrimination borne of lack of exposure, disproportionate federal dollars to rural areas & extraction from urban areas, etc. are already big problems. See below too...
4 - Hypervigilism, suspicion and distrust of both fellow humans and of our own immune systems in favor of dubious reliance on centralized healthcare (despite vaccines, masks, mandates, etc., as many Americans will have died during Biden's first year in office as during Trump's last, when Covid began: 1/20/20-1/19/21. Maybe more.
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