Flashback to December 31st, 2019. I am at a bar with friends sending off 2019 and looking forward to 2020. We were enjoying the friendship and comradery with some food and a few drinks while discussing what a great year 2020 is shaping up to be. The music is great (80's) band and the future looks very bright. I mean why not look for a positive 2020? The economy is going great, the stock market is soaring, and in 2020 Cinco de Mayo falls on Taco Tuesday and Halloween falls on a Saturday! What could go wrong?...
Flash forward just three months and the world has turned upside down. In March 2020, a mysterious virus that originated in China and is known as the Corona Virus had come to the US after originating in China.
At first, not many people were taking this virus too seriously (me included) and people were even making jokes about it on social media (guilty). Our President said it was nothing to worry about and would disappear in a month or so. I originally thought this virus would get a lot of media attention and then go away. Then it kept spreading to places like France and Italy and causing mass devastation. With every day things got worse. The stock market crashed, the word "Pandemic" was being used by the media, and fear and near panic begin to develop as the media portrayed doom and gloom in the days and months ahead. Next, the cancelation of events started happening like dominoes falling. No college basketball March Madness, no NBA, no start of the baseball season, and eventually everyone was told to stay home, and when we do go out wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from each other. A term that is now famously known as "social distancing". The world had changed just like that seemingly overnight.
Now as we are in mid-May as I write this blog post there have been over one million five hundred infections in the US and over 90,000 deaths. The numbers are sure to climb even higher in the months ahead (although I do feel like we are past the peak in terms of daily infections and deaths).
The economy is in the tank, millions have lost their jobs and are looking for work. All of this happened literally within a month or two.
One thing that has stood out to me is how people are treating the pandemic. Some are taking it super seriously (like me) and social distancing, wearing a mask when they go out, and making sure they wash their hands often and use hand sanitizer. Others think this whole pandemic thing has been blown out of proportion by the left-wing media and/or is a hoax and Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci are in cahoots regarding this whole sham. Once again Americans are divided by politics when Covid-19 should be bringing people together.
Personally, I think the virus is very real, and the numbers aren't lying. I also feel like we cannot live in house arrest forever and we cannot shut down our economies forever. We need to slowly open back up businesses such as restaurants, gyms, and hair salons as safely as possible. As I am writing this article states are slowly starting to open up and it is too early to tell if this will mean spikes in cases or if we will continue to decline. I am a very positive thinker and really want to think that the worse of this virus is behind us. Is it? Well, I guess only time will tell.
Regardless of if this virus is here for another month or another year, it has changed the world forever. Many restaurants and other small businesses will close forever because of Covid-19. Most businesses will now offer work-from-home arrangements if they didn't do so already. If you do need to go into the office, there will be more distancing between you and others as well as constant disinfecting, mask-wearing, temperature taking and people being very cautious about their health. This is not how the business world was prior to March 2020. Wearing a mask isn't just a Halloween occurrence, now everywhere we go masks are commonplace. Who knows when mass gatherings will occur again at sporting events and concerts and what they will look like when they do?
<p.Covid-19 has changed me in several ways. It has made me more aware of when I cough, and if I do cough (or sneeze) I make sure I cough in my sleeve and immediately wash my hands afterward if I can. I know this was the best practice prior to the virus, but to be honest I didn't always follow best practices. I am also more aware of how close I am to people, how often I wash my hands, how I touch people via handshakes (I don't currently), and how I interact with potential business partners (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and Google hangouts are second nature to me now).
I have also changed to become more empathetic about people's vulnerabilities, their health, their value to society, and how we relate to one another. I often heard the phrase “seek to understand and then be understood”. I always thought this was a great idea and wanted to integrate this in my daily life, now try and do this more than ever.
There are many things I miss. I miss going out to live concerts or hearing live music in bars. I miss being able to visit friends and family when I want to. I miss going to the beach, or to the mountains. I miss going out to restaurants and retail stores. I do believe all of these activities will be available for me and others sooner or later, and I cannot wait for them to come back. I won't ever take the simple act of going to a bar and having a drink with a buddy for granted ever again!
The post-Corona Virus era is still very nebulous to me. I am not sure what a post-Covid-19 world looks like. Mainly because we are not there yet. We are still in the thick of crap right now, with high infections and deaths. This virus probably won't be fully behind us until we have an effective vaccine which is months, and most likely a year or so away. Will the world be a better place after Covid-19? I am not sure.
Maybe people will be kinder to one another. More empathetic towards people who are less fortunate, different races, religions, personal beliefs? That might be a pipe dream, but perhaps there will be some good from this pandemic. Currently, everything is dour, negative, and bleak. The American spirit is strong, however. The human spirit is strong, and I am strong. Everything will get better eventually. Maybe even better than before this virus and no matter what..good or bad, life goes on so make the best of it!