The messaging from many governments is trying to give people the idea that we are going back to normality once the pandemic is over. Time for a reality check!
While not on the level of wars or natural disasters, all countries that had covid-19 outbreaks have had varying degrees of disruption to their economies and the lives of their citizens. These have ranged from millions becoming unemployed and closed businesses to numbers of deaths greater than any war the countries have fought in.
When people become unemployed for long periods of time, they often feel dejected because their idea of their worthiness has been shattered, with little hope of being reclaimed. Government promising a return to former normality ring hollow when the pandemic drags on for a year or more.
Small businesses are often the largest employer group in a country, typically surviving on low profits or even multi-year losses. Having to remain closed for months on end can spell the end for many. Even if they survive those closures, many of their customers may have found other ways of getting their needs and wants met, and so the business will not get them back. If a business was only making a few percent profit, a loss of similar percentage or more of customers will often mean they will never be back in profit, making them unviable.
Large businesses may be able to deal with such losses because they have more flexibility in how they mange their resources, especially if they have a large contract workforce on low pay. Many have shifted much of their operations online to take advantage of the number of people working from home, while those already online will be booming. Some may even be able to lobby for government bail-outs.
All these results mean that those on low incomes may well fall below the poverty line, those on middle incomes will be worse off, and the rich will be fine, as ever, if not even more wealthy. If a country does not have a sufficient social net already, it will now be overstretched, ensuring the great majority of its citizens will be worse off long term, with little likelihood of change because those who have already rigged the systems of government in their own favour will have a stronger hand.
If a country did not have a resilient public health system, and its government did not take proper steps to prevent spread of covid, its health systems will be overloaded, resulting in more deaths and severe long-term population health deterioration. This will keep more people out of the workforce, so they will remain unemployed and probably saddled with crippling debt.
For many countries, covid will lead to a future that leaves many people with greater debt and poorer health. While their economies may appear to be well based on GDP, mainly due to those with enough disposable income to invest in stocks, that will mask deep problems that the majority will be struggling to deal with.
If a government has chosen to throw its citizens under the bus rather than save their lives, covid will have many more hosts in which to mutate into more virulent and deadly strains. This will lead to further outbreaks, not only in the country but overflowing into others. Together with the large numbers that oppose any measure of virus control, like masks, physical distancing or vaccines, many more people will die.
Unfortunately, these same politicians are pushing a return to an old idea of normality where we can live our lives without covid restrictions. This is fallacy, at least until covid is crushed. That is because the delta strain is too contagious to live with. Any easing of restrictions will still need to be accompanied by physical isolation techniques like distancing and masks. We must change our thinking, as unrealistic expectations will only lead us to retain unnecessary levels of stress.
In the event of future outbreaks, the deaths and serious health issues will tend to be rampant among those who are making the least effort to protect themselves. The paradox of this is that those politicians who have been playing up opposition to virus controls will have less people to vote for them, either because they are dead, or have seen so many around them dying that they finally pull their support.
That means that more politicians interested in helping people will be elected, hopefully leading to social and economic reforms that are substantially more supportive of people. Unfortunately, the politicians who have lead to peoples' deaths are trying to implement laws that bias elections in their favour, as if rampant gerrymandering was not enough. Hopefully, we can elect enough of those who want to look after our best interests quickly enough to prevent such disastrous outcomes.
We have a choice now to determine what type of society to take into into our future. We must stand now for what we believe, and make our voices heard!