No one can predict the future, not even you. This healthcare mega-crisis that took over 2020 will go down in history, and we can learn a lot from it. The Coronavirus has caused worldwide turmoil, throwing us into a situation we have never experienced before. Recently, I have been trying to think more positively about how this event could adjust the world, for the better. Is there any good that can come from this? Can this shift our path to a better world? Is this the kick humanity needed? It is hard to see how this virus could even remotely do anyone any good, but major times like this usually cause change. Here are 5 predictions of how I think the world could change for the better after we have combatted this virus.
We are creatures of habit and for a large part of people, we wash our hands. Hand washing has been largely emphasised across the globe to stop the spread of the virus. We have been reminded of how important it is to protect ourselves and others. I remember on countless occasions going to a gym and seeing people using the restroom and not washing their hands – it used to kill me! Knowing that gyms are a spreading ground for germs… With our usual busy lifestyles, some of us forget to wash our hands as often as we should. Hopefully, these regular habits that we have been practising will continue and we will be more likely to wash our hands more frequently and correctly.
Businesses could also enforce these habits further and do their part in making sure surfaces are cleaned more thoroughly. Airline companies, leisure centres, hotels etc… will likely be more concerned about cleanliness than ever before.
Businesses could become more flexible and creative
Small, medium and large businesses have been tested by a number of issues throughout this pandemic. Owners were forced to close their doors and the future for selling goods or providing services seemed bleak. However, businesses have thought new ways to continue operating by becoming more flexible. See before the crisis, we were all living life as usual on autopilot. Businesses did not necessarily need to be flexible and creative. Of course, it would be good if all businesses were, but realistically they are not. This sudden change of closures and social distancing gave an obstacle that businesses owners dread. Yet, we saw many change the core elements of their structure to facilitate a continuation of, well, business. Pubs and restaurants started offering online food deliveries, and we even saw big supermarkets such as ASDA & Waitrose allow the more vulnerable shop at times separately to the general population – now that is flexibility.
When we are in times of need, we saw businesses step up, adjust and help. And likewise, we have seen people support local and small businesses throughout this crisis. In order to survive, we must adapt. Throughout this black swan event, we have witnessed businesses bend their rules creatively to support demand. We may see a continuation of this trend whereby businesses are willing to become more flexible and creative to provide new ways of doing things.
Green energy & sustainable living
You have probably seen the videos online of Venice, Italy or New Delhi, India. The world has struggled with our evergrowing problems of pollution. Since the Coronavirus lockdown, many people are at home, traffic is virtually nonexistent, factories are closed, and construction has come to a halt, leading to a reduction in air pollution. Although the pollution will reemerge when we go back to ‘Business as usual’, the short-term effects are pretty striking and show us we are not on the greener side if the grass.
Andrew Steer, chief executive of the World Resources Institute, said: “As the world looks to recover from the current health and economic crises, we face a choice: we can pursue a modern, clean, healthy energy system, or we can go back to the old, polluting ways of doing business. We must choose the former.”
This event could be an opportunity to make a greener world. The Coronavirus has delivered unusual environmental benefits: cleaner air, lower carbon emissions, a respite for wildlife. Perhaps this crisis could allow us to reflect on consumer trends, how we envision our future and understand how delicate we are and the nature around us.
Appreciation for our NHS
Our appreciation for quality healthcare has skyrocketed. Never before have we relied so heavily on our health services. Health workers across the globe have been everyday heroes, amongst other essential workers like supermarket employees and truck drivers. In the UK, we have our National Health Service (NHS), and throughout this crisis, we have seen acts of kindness such as free food, discounts across many retailers, free hotel stays and clapping for them among fellow neighbours. Never have I felt so connected to our nation when the first round of clapping began – it was heartwarming.
Workers on the frontline are putting themselves at risk daily so they can protect us. Households have been drawing ‘thank-you’ and ‘stay home’ posters, usually with rainbows on them. Many parents have displayed these in their windows. Health is wealth and this event has taught us how important these systems are to protect us. In the future, we could see more people making a stand to support our healthcare infrastructure to protect our way of living.