After a full week into the US quarantine measures, I wanted to go ahead and make a list of predictions about the world after the pandemic. It’s going to be interesting to see how these play out and which ones hold true versus the ones that I’m completely wrong about.
It’s an odd place we’re in right now. As a friend told me the other day, “It just feels weird.” The world has shrunk incredibly at the same time it remains global. I’m going biking with a close friend avoiding other people while at the same time checking in with my buddy Ricardo in France via Facebook.
Now that the Toilet Paper Riots of 2020 are over, people seem to focusing more and more each day on actual needs versus wants.
Life got too busy and needed to slow down some. It’s a shame it took a pandemic to do that.
With “social distancing” being the new top phrase of the year, actual real face-to-face social interactions mean something more and are more intentional.
With that said, here’s my list of predictions. I placed them in alphabetical order so as to disguise the ones that are more important and relevant to me personally or ones that I might have a financial stake in.
Air Travel- Air travel will take a decade to recover. As the world shrinks in a way that we can still digitally enjoy other places, it won’t be so important to fly anymore. Many people will finally be wondering if it’s really worth all the screenings, fees, and security checks. Airlines will have to make major changes to attract flyers again. I predict the airlines will go retro and make it feel like a luxury to fly and not just the overpriced chore that it is.
China- China will face sanctions. At some point the world stage will try and punish China for being responsible for the last several pandemics. Measures will be taken to limit China’s involvement in bioweapons and biomedical research. China’s economy will take a huge hit as other countries try to limit dependence on them for goods of all kinds. Other countries will seek reparations against China for causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Church- Church attendance has been falling for a very long time in America. Being forced to stay away from church will make people realize that there are other choices beyond actually attending church in person. Unfortunately, one of those choices will be giving up on church completely.
Colleges- In-person college attendance will drop dramatically. As we recover, it will primarily only be the elite higher income kids who will continue. I’ll try to sugarcoat this one a little to hide my true feelings, but colleges are overpriced, useless bastions of tradition that aren’t responding to the times or true needs of the future. Many people will question two main things. 1. Do I really need to even be in college? 2. If I do need college for my career path, why not just stick to online school and save money?
COVID Babies- A year from now we’re going to see a baby boom. I don’t think anyone is gonna name their baby Corona, but there will be a lot of coronavirus quarantine babies coming soon.
Cruise Ships- Cruise ships will be a thing of the past for a long time. Even before the pandemic, you couldn’t go more than a month or two without reading about a stomach virus raging wild on a ship somewhere.
Eating Out- Eating out will change for awhile. If this lasts long enough, many of us will get used to not eating out and won’t return to it, except for special occasions. There will be a sharper division between eating inside places versus pick up and go eateries. Anything less than fine dining will move more towards outdoor seating and grab and go.
Food Handling in Eateries- You’ll see big changes post virus in buffet style eating and how items like silverware, straws, and dishes are handled.
Government Trust- As always, with events like this, governments from nationwide all the way down to the local municipalities will screw things up and look to increase their own power base while serving their individual self-interests. We will come out of this, not praising the government handling of the situation, but condemning them for it.
Homeschooling- Because of massive global school closures, most kids are being schooled from home. Many kids will be glad to return to the slave factory (public school), but a small segment will choose to stay home-schooled and embrace the freedom this allows. This will bring an increase into the ranks of fulltime homeschoolers that will enrich homeschool co-ops and groups with needed variety. The percentage of non-religious homeschoolers will jump.
Hygiene- At least for a while, people will strive to be cleaner and practice more hygiene than before. People who carry their own personal hand sanitizer will be in the majority, and not just germaphobes and parents (me on both accounts).
Insider Trading- New laws will be forced into place to make elected officials more clearly divulge financial interests or perhaps even place all investments into blind trusts when they take office. I say “forced” because no elected official will voluntarily enact a law that limits their power and their ability to make money from their position.
Manufacturing- Ingenuity will surface. As world trade slows, and many people no longer want everything as cheap as possible from China, entrepreneurs will seek methods and innovations that plug gaps in the supply chain and replace much of China’s power in the world manufacturing market. More factories will be built closer to home, even if the end product costs a little more.
Media- The media will face a backlash at some point from an exhausted American public that is tired of sensationalism and the lack of actual journalism. Credible sources of actual unbiased information will slowly surface as real journalism makes a comeback and reality TV (CNN, Fox News, and all the others) becomes less relevant.
Megachurches- A pastor friend and I have talked in the past about the potential fall of the American megachurch. It wasn’t because of a pandemic but for other reasons. I believe the megachurches of American have grown too big, and this pandemic will break them up into smaller churches. The only survivors of this megachurch decline will be the ones that are primarily made up of satellite churches and not the ones that build stadiums for their services or the ones that buy actual stadiums for them. Yeah, I’m talking to you Joel.
Movie Theaters- Movies will be different. Things have been trending toward home and digital delivery for a long time. This pandemic will be the tipping point that will kill movie theaters as we know them. Theaters will shrink and become used more for special showings and special events. Multiplexes will disappear. In the future, movies will be released primarily through pay platforms available at home. Soon you’ll see Netflix with a pay-per-view platform more like Amazon Prime for new movie releases, and all the others will follow suit. Doordash and the food delivery companies will partner with them for movie release specials. This is already happening very quickly.
Outdoor Recreation- More people will realize the joy and health benefits of being outside and will continue to enjoy it as the quarantines wind down.
Prepping- The Great American Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 has shown a lot of people that not all preppers are nutbags and that basic levels of prepping are just sensible. More people will prep to the basic level, like having basic stocks of food, diapers, paper goods, and go bags.
President Trump- President Trump will win the coming election by a landslide for several reasons. The Democrats have no viable strong candidates that people trust. At this time Biden is a front-runner over Bernie, but both are considered old men already at risk or suffering from ailments that render them dangerously frail in a time when someone younger and healthier looks more viable and capable.
Professional Sports- Once this is over and crowds are allowed to surface again, I predict that professional sports will make a near immediate comeback. If you look back through American history, you’ll see that we did everything we could to either continue sports or bring them back as soon as possible. Professional sports represent a return to normalcy, just like a favorite comfort food.
Store Hours- Stores will stick with reduced hours as we return. They’ll do this for a couple of main reasons: there’s not as much need to stay open as long, workers are willing to trade time at work for time with families, and companies see the reduced expenses from not being open as long.
That’s it for now. I’ll have more predictions as this carries on, but I’d love to hear yours.
What do you predict will change in the new post-coronavirus world?
Dr. Redbeard, playing futurist for the day