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Friday, April 17, 2020

COVID SIDE OF LIFE. Day 33: The New Normal?

(Image: Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Pandemic Log: Friday, 17th April 2020

I read today that one of the conditions for airlines to start flying people again will be that they cannot sell middle seats to passengers for the foreseeable future.

It got me thinking about what our new normal might resemble, once countries begin to re-open their economies for business and pleasure as they end the current lock downs.

The one thing abundantly clear to me it that there will be no semblance of 'pre-covid' normalcy in our daily lives and activities until we invent a vaccine, and have mandatory vaccinations for people; we are still twelve to eighteen months away from an available vaccine.

So, once we start to re-open the economy, in order to prevent a 'second wave', this what I believe the new normal will likely look like, at least until the end of 2021 because it will take that long vaccinate enough people to achieve herd immunity.

ONE: Temperature checks at our places of work, malls and maybe even movie theaters and restaurants. Employers will also require access medical records to track employee health; this will require temporary updates to current HIPPA guidelines.

TWO: We will be administered antibody tests in order to be cleared to resume work. Those who have not developed antibodies might need to be tested weekly. According to a Harvard professor this means that the US will need the capability to administer at least 500,000 tests per day. Currently, at the peak we are managing only at 145,000 tests per day.
THREE: Bluetooth-based contact tracing will be used to track, and inform people when they come into contact with someone with Covid. Those who came into contact will be required back into 14 day quarantine. Interestingly, privacy advocates, healthcare experts and elected officials agree that contact tracing is critical to preventing future outbreaks; they just need to agree to data privacy protections that need to accompany such a system.

FOUR: It will be mandatory to wear face masks in public spaces, on public transportation and probably anywhere there will be more than five people gathered.

FIVE: Social distancing rules will need to be observed at offices (hooray, to the end of open office concept), restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters; likely anywhere that people congregate.

SIX: Those who are vulnerable, like older folks and the immune-compromised, will be required to continue to curtail their activities until they are vaccinated.

Basically, unless you are Larry David and believe this is what normal should always have been – we will all need to adjust the new abnormal.

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