Here I am with a case of the sniffles again, just as I thought I was finally getting better and feeling well enough to work out. I haven’t made it two months yet. It put COVID-19 on my mind, and I remembered that I had written up some predictions a while back. Let’s see how I did.
I do this periodically because I think it’s super-important as part of inquiry and intellectual rigor to always admit when you’ve made a mistake. That’s the only way you can improve your cognitive models. If you can’t ever admit you were wrong, then you can never have a solid working strategy for anything in life. You can never be a true adult, and you certainly can’t be a serious person.
The mistakes are more interesting than the accuracies!
What I did was to brainstorm a random list of stuff, much of which I figured would come into play in the 5-10 year range and beyond. That is a stipulation that sounds like a cop-out. On the other hand, what’s the point of predictions if they are only for the near term?
Mentally I try to live in the year 2025 as much as possible. I like it there.
Now, on to the predictions. Most notably, I failed to predict that there would be COVID-19 in the actual White House. This is why predicting events is always a lost cause, because the most significant event is always a wild card - like how Back to the Future II didn’t predict the internet. How could it? That’s why future visions are always so funny in retrospect.
I went back to my post from May 7 and copied and pasted the prediction section. Then I cut some explanatory material. I’m italicizing anything that is still indeterminate and attaching links to anything that seems to have come to pass.
I don’t think we’ll be done with coronavirus until, like, 2023. I don’t think a vaccine will offer long-term coverage; I think one season, like the flu shot, at best. I also think a huge percentage of people would refuse to get it. I don’t think we’re going into the “second wave;” I think the first wave has barely gotten started. I don’t think everyone who gets COVID-19 will have antibodies and I don’t think antibodies will provide immunity for more than a few months, if at all. I think the predictions that at least 100,000 Americans will have died by the end of May 2020 are probably a little on the sunny side.
I am stone-cold certain that the statistics of who died, and when, will still be actively being updated at least a year from now. There are vast areas of the world where an accurate count would not be possible due to infrastructure, and in those areas we will never know. At time of writing, over 270,000 people have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, about 77,000 of those in the US, and I believe the true numbers are at least 10% higher [*cough* up to 100% higher *cough*].
Regardless of hospital capacity, there are people who, if infected, will not survive. We simply don’t have the interventions yet that might save them. This is why I think the fatality rate isn’t really going to drop much [WRONG!] even if we supposedly “flatten the curve.”
Okay, what else?
I think a lot of companies, especially in tech, are going to move to permanent WFH and then they are going to want to unload their commercial real estate.
I think a lot of investors have already realized that they need a different formula if they want to live off passive income. Investing in the market or buying rental properties are a totally different game now.
I think a lot of people in the service industry are going to get shafted out of unemployment, disability, or death benefits because there is no “proof” that they have/had COVID-19. I think in the near-to-mid future we’re going to be relying on people for certain jobs (food service, warehouses, deliveries) who would have been considered unemployable (even in the gig economy) just six months ago.
I think AR/VR could actually become a thing in entertainment if the price point for the rig is low enough.
I think certain communities will get delivery drones/robots and most won’t.
I think a lot of people are going to want to relocate or change their housing situation if this keeps up for another year. Some will want roommates or want to combine forces with broke/lonely family members. Others would rather live in a tool shed than stay where they are.
I think attempted burglaries will be up [our apartment building has been burglarized twice since I posted this!!!], and I also mentioned the word ‘brigands’ in casual conversation with my husband recently.
I think there will be a significant turnover of people working in the health care industry, some who will run screaming (if they still can) and others who will enlist and seek out ad hoc training.
I think travel will go back to being as expensive and exclusive as it was in the 1920s-1960s. Wealthy-ish people will buy some kind of suit, helmet, or connector hose to get their own clean air supply, and then go back to normal. (The “really” wealthy will just cheat and use personal transport/yachts/private jets).
I think a LOT of people will return to normal levels of socializing, and the toll of that will always take a month to reveal itself.
I think certain parts of the world, starting with island nations, will achieve total eradication and then require at least a two-week quarantine before anyone can visit.
I think the “immunity passport” will definitely become a thing, and will definitely be hacked, and will definitely lead to sickness.
I think society will polarize even more than it already was, specifically in the area of “health expertise.” Those who would drink bleach will start doing even dumber stuff, and those who were already inclined to get their shots will start seeking out deeper reality-based knowledge of scientific and medical topics.
I think philanthropists will start funding vaccine research, not just for COVID, but also for diseases that arguably kill a lot more people, like TB.
I think a lot of people will quit smoking and vaping, and a small portion will also drop weight and work toward getting off their meds (asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure).
I think 2020 is going to be a great year for conservation and species reintroduction. (Cite white-tailed eagle, storks in Britain, beavers, tortoises, etc). [Worth its own post]
I think residential construction will move toward isolation-ready floor plans with larger pantries and more home-office alcoves.
I think a lot of people, like my personal household and our techie friends, will just shrug and stay home for the next couple of years. People on the other extreme are already experiencing crisis fatigue to the point that they will quit following coronavirus news, and accept a background fatality rate of 2,000-3000 deaths per day (and up) in the same way that they previously accepted traffic fatalities and gun violence.
I think the Pacific Northwest will be mostly clear by fall [FALSE!], but my part of Southern California will continue to heat up. Most deaths in my state are right here in my county, and as far as I can tell, most of the local community doesn’t even care.
I was totally wrong about a couple of things, namely that COVID-19 would basically be eradicated in Oregon and Washington, and that case fatalities would remain steady. Sad about the first, glad about the second. Looking back at my trend analysis, I’m surprised at how much of that seems to have been borne out by reality in the relatively short term.
I wish I could predict when my stuffy nose would clear up, or whether I’ll ever feel fully recovered from COVID-19, or how long the pandemic will last, or when I can see my family again. *sigh*
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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