COVID-19 has dramatically altered the way we work and play, and the changes have only just begun. In the future, we can expect to see:
- Speedier biomedical efforts to confront, control and cure new maladies. The pandemic has shown that research, testing and government approval of treatments and possible vaccines can be shortened from years to months. This will save not only huge sums of research dollars going forward but also more lives.
- New thinking on where, when and how people work. Technology has become even more integrated into everyone’s social, work and everyday lives. An estimated 50% of office workers are still working remotely either part- or full-time. This has meant less auto traffic and air pollution. Google recently announced its workers would stay home until at least July 2021. Local government officials are wondering if this is a permanent trend and mass transit plans need to be amended.
- Remote learning becoming a larger part of every student’s curriculum. If teachers can effectively implement distance learning in all grade levels and socio-economic groups, students will become even more tech-savvy and better trained for future jobs. In college, students may be able to join “learning pods” no matter where they live and study online with distinguished professors from the world’s top universities.
- International standards being adopted to govern ethical medical conduct. China’s effort to conceal and downplay the severity of the initial COVID-19 outbreak is an example of the need for such a code. No cultural differences can excuse China’s self-centered approach of protecting its own interests while exposing the rest of the world. The pandemic has devastated the global economy and left the international community demanding that China become more accountable.
While the pandemic has been a scourge that has forced us to adapt, in all likelihood we will come out of the pandemic more enterprising, efficient and responsible.