How the Coronavirus Will Change Our World

The incidence of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. appears to be slowing down to about 20,000 new cases per day (see chart).  This number should start to drop soon.

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I have long considered myself fortunate to live in Omaha NE, and all the more so in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.  In Douglas County we have now had just 57 reported cases of infections and one death.  We are isolated from the country’s hot spots but still taking social distancing very seriously.

So I have the luxury to begin speculating about what will be coming down the pike when we get beyond the pandemic.  Here are some of the major changes which are likely to occur in the way we conduct our lives:

  • The coronavirus will permanently change how we work.  Many companies and employees will decide that working remotely from the office has its advantages.  More and more people will discover that Zoom is a great way to convene groups electronically.

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  • Online education will expand dramatically, at least beyond high school. College faculties are now all learning how to teach online, many will like it, and it has the advantage of greatly increasing access to post-secondary education.
  • Biotechnology will have a growth spurt.  Editing our genes could eventually make us immune to viruses.  Need more be said?

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  • China’s influence in the world will shrink.  Not only did China’s backward public health procedures let the coronavirus pandemic break out in Wuhan, all businesses can now see how dangerous it is to let supply chains become concentrated in one country.

Conclusion.  That’s it for now.  I (and my sources!) are certainly not clairvoyant.  But already these changes alone will have a major impact on American society.  As technology becomes more important, so does the technical knowledge which supports it, and the consequent demand for more knowledge workers.  Our entire educational system will have to be upgraded.  More on this later.

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