Yesterday I set out to make some predictions about the near-to-mid future coronavirus timeline. By the time I had evaluated myself on the predictions I made back in March, before I got sick, I had run out of room to fit anything new.
Now I’m just going to list off a bunch more stuff, rapid-fire, and maybe we can go more into depth on some of these later. Just to set expectations, this is going to start out dark, but I’ll try to work in a few positives.
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 think if I get it again, I won’t survive, which is why I’m publishing all these thoughts now. If I have to die before my time because my asymptomatic young neighbors refuse to stay six feet away from me, I’d prefer my legacy be spooky and impressive rather than sad and pointless.
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*]. Part of that is due to reporting lag, part is that places like Florida quit reporting weeks ago, and part is because only tested patients who died in a hospital setting are being counted.
My cluster from Virus Brunch includes 6 people who were sick and could not get a test. My husband, my friend, and I all got sick and couldn’t get a test until we had already recovered, when of course we tested negative. At least from my personal experience, I know not all the statistics can be accurate or up to date.
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 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, 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).
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, 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.
What kind of numbers would it take to impress my neighbors? I have no idea. Will people who are out protesting and being very vocal about “herd immunity” ever change their minds, if someone in their family dies or if they themselves get as sick as I was? No idea.
This is a weird time. It’s made weirder because nobody knows what’s going to happen and nobody knows what to believe. I choose to make some predictions because it helps me to feel like at least my brain still works. Undoubtedly the most newsworthy events of 2020 will be completely surprising and thus unpredictable. I’ll be following those threads from indoors.
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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