I’m an optimist and I look for things to prove that optimism. I see China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore all stemming the spread of the virus and it makes me hopeful that it’s possible to do the same in other areas. Looking far ahead, what might seem like an eternity — 10 years — how we handle pandemics or even day to day illness will be very different.
It’s likely the freedoms around how we deal with our health will be limited. The idea that our medical information is ours and ours alone and that we can keep that information from each other is going to seem quaint.
If you have ebola, I need to know.
The freedom to travel when you have a fever? Nope. Sniffles, nope. “I’m going to push through this cold and show up somewhere.” Triple nope.
There will be punishment for contravening this. Fines, jail time. There will be quarantine (or rather detention) on arrival if you develop a sickness on a plane. No symptom will be treated lightly. Headache? Earache? Nausea? Diarrhea? Cramps? Nope. Stay home.
You’re only traveling / meeting with others if you feel well. And “well” will mean excellent by today’s standards. You’re not meeting people face to face if you feel tired. You’re not traveling if you’re tired.
Most people will stay home. Families will be tighter. There will be more ways to stay entertained and for your food and other needs to come to you. Telepresence at events like weddings or conferences will be much better than the primitive robots we see today.
And hygiene? You better believe it. No close talking. Buffets going to look different if they exist. Social distancing will be the norm. Masks? Maybe not, but touching surfaces will be frowned upon.
We’re going to seem like germaphobes compared to today’s standard. But that will be OK. We need to be more germaphobe.