People are desperate for a feeling of normalcy, whatever that may be for them. Not just now while we’re all on lockdown with nothing but bad news 24/7 but constantly. When this is all over, and we switch to other news in the late Fall, I think most people will be desperate to forget this ever happened. If we do talk about it, it will be only to discuss the lingering economic effects.
In 2009, I contracted the H1N1(swine flu). It put me flat on my back for over a week and I didn’t feel completely healthy again for over two weeks. Looking back, not only did I not alter my behavior, but less than a year later I quit a job with 50% work-from-home in favor of a job that involved 60% travel. While considering my career switch, I didn’t even consider how much more exposure that travel would cause me. It was a pretty bad risk assessment on my part. Most people believe they are much better at assessing risk than they actually are.
The H2N2 pandemic, in 1957, killed over 100,000 Americans. The US population at the time, according to the 1955 census, was 171 million. That means the death rate in the US was approximately .05%. With a projected death rate of over >100k for COVID-19 as of this writing and the current US population of 328 million the death rate is .02%. While I’m not a professional researcher by any stretch, what I could find in the papers from 1957 were many articles about the flu outbreak while it was in full effect. However, it seemed like it was being reported on like the weather. The weather was terrible for a while, but once it passed, not many mentions at all. I couldn’t find anything encouraging people to change their behavior. After 1957 almost no mentions of this major pandemic in media of any kind.
Today’s world is much more interconnected and media-saturated than in 1957. However, I think the same thing is about to occur this fall that occurred after the 1957 H2N2 pandemic. We here in America, for example, will happily change our focus to the upcoming presidential election and do our best to forget all about COVID-19.
I believe this so strongly I made a fairly significant(for me) investment in Carnival cruise lines. If it goes back to half of it’s pre-CORONA-19 price then I’ll be taking all of my friends and family on a cruise with the profits.
The major cruise lines have reopened their reservation systems and are taking reservations for as early as the fall of 2020. While most reservations are for discounted cruises in 2021. Let that sink in a bit. People who by in large are at home sheltering in place due to COVID-19 are booking cruises for as early as this fall!
Many people I respect are claiming that things will change forever but what they point to are trends like the death of movie theaters, malls, and more working from home. These trends were already in full effect before the pandemic. When was the last time you had a good experience in a movie theater not named “Alamo Draft House?” Office space is often one of the largest expenses a business will have so, of course, companies are extending their work from home policies in an attempt to bring these expenses under control.
People are desperate to get back to “normal,” whatever that is for them. I fear this will lead to us being completely unprepared for the next pandemic which is sure to follow.
Caveat: If COVID-19 reinfection turns out to be possible and we are on lockdown for 3 years and not 3 months, throw this article in the nearest waste bin.