Our New Covid Reality
From the first case of Covid-19 in early December of 2020 in Wuhan, China, to the first case in America on January 21, 2020, people all around the world have had to make major adjustments to their daily lives. 71% of American workers are working from home. We have seen skyrocketing levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. 88 million people around the world have been pushed into extreme poverty in the greatest global recession since 1990.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that life will return to normal anytime soon. A new Covid reality has set in, but what will this look like in the future?
Continued enforcement of protective measures:
For Americans to be able to freely interact in public without masks with no fear of Covid-19, we must first reach herd immunity. To achieve herd immunity, 70-85% of the American population must be vaccinated. As of February 1, 53.8 million doses have been administered in the US, this averages to 1.68 million doses per day. If America continues at this rate, it will take around 8 months to cover 75% of the population with a two-dose vaccine. This projection is likely to decrease as new vaccines receive approval, but the potential effect of new Covid-19 variants may push this number further back.
The CDC also recommends the continued use of a mask and a 6-foot distance from others after a vaccination. Researchers still don’t know if a vaccinated person has the ability to spread Covid-19 to other people. The CDC has also not yet decided when to stop recommending that people wear masks and exhibit other protective measures. So for the foreseeable future, expect masks and social distancing to be commonplace.
More than 173 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have been administered throughout the world, a rough average of 5.96 million doses a day. If this rate continues, it will take an estimated 5 years to cover 75% of the global population.
Because of this slow journey to global herd immunity, it is very likely that proof of a vaccine will be required to travel domestically and internationally. Qantas, an Australian airline, is the first airline to mandate that international travelers will need a Covid-19 vaccination to fly. Korean Air and Delta Air Lines have already released statements indicating a vaccine will eventually become a prerequisite to fly.
It is also likely that countries will offer immunity passports. Israel has already done so- after receiving a Covid-19 vaccination, citizens are given a “green passport.” The International Air Travel Association is in the process of developing the IATA Travel Pass. This pass will allow passengers to upload their vaccination histories to the pass, where airlines and border patrol can quickly see if a person has the necessary vaccines.
Continued Remote Work:
It is very likely that many occupations will continue to function remotely. Many companies, like Twitter and Capital One, have already announced their employees can work remotely permanently if they choose. The option for remote work has many benefits for both employers and employees.
Workers are saving money without the cost of gas, eating out, or childcare. Global Workplace Analytics estimated on average, Americans could save between $2,000-6,500 by working from home. Productivity is greater when working from home. And there is more time for self-care and fitness. Importantly, working from home has also significantly benefitted the environment. Reducing commuter travel has lowered carbon commissions consistently throughout 2020.
Increased Health Consciousness:
Covid-19 has also forced all of us to scrutinize and consider our health in ways many haven’t before. We are all much more conscious about the necessity of maintaining optimal health to protect against Covid-19. It is likely that these trends will continue through the upcoming years.
Americans are making smarter and more socially conscious choices regarding diet. 60% of Americans reported cooking more at home and 25% have increased their fruit and vegetable intake. Importantly, the impact of environmental sustainability on diet choices has risen since the beginning of the pandemic. More Americans are looking for food manufacturers that prioritize the environment in their practices.
According to a survey, 75% of American participants have adopted at least one new wellness-related habit since last year. It is likely that many Americans will continue to work out from their living rooms, allowing for more flexibility in their exercise routines.
Covid-19 will also continue to affect people who suffer from chronic Covid-19. To read our blog about chronic Covid, click here. Scientists are unsure why some people feel lingering effects after having Covid, as many as 25% still have at least one symptom after a negative test result. These symptoms can be as mild as continued cough to lung function abnormalities. Some people have demonstrated long-term conditions such as acute kidney injury, smell and taste problems, difficulties with concentration, memory problems, and inflammation of the heart muscle.