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Social Changes After the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Glenn Stok writes about his views of significant social and economic influence to inspire his readers with further thought on the subject.

A new social awareness as a result of the pandemic.

A new social awareness as a result of the pandemic.

This essay reviews the social, business, and economic changes in America due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic.

I’ll discuss how our society is changing due to the experience we all endured and how our lives will be different.

China's Influence on the United States

Ever since President Nixon attained open trade with China in 1972, we have been victimized by their untrustworthy attitude that allowed them to become a world power.1

American companies have outsourced the development of their technology to China to take advantage of the lower cost of labor. A couple of examples:

  1. Apple has been dependent on China to manufacture the iPhone and other Apple products.
  2. Most of our pharmaceuticals are made in China.

The experience with Coronavirus may be a driving force to initiate much needed change. We learned there is a tremendous risk involved.

We can’t trust anything China says or does. They kept the Coronavirus a secret long after they knew they had a problem. They started hoarding facemasks in January 2020 before announcing the possibility of a pandemic. They obviously knew more than they were admitting.2

Economic Stimulus Payments Will Cause Increased Inflation

We can expect inflation due to stimulus spending. Most people received stimulus checks to compensate for unemployment due to the shutdown.

Most everyone in the USA received $1200 plus $500 per child, with another $600 plus $600 per child in a second round.3

The printing of money to give everyone the stimulus reduces the value of our currency, thereby making everything we buy in the future more expensive.

If you believe that stimulus payment was free money, you are highly mistaken. We all will pay dearly for it indirectly. We will pay it back through the hidden tax known as inflation. Sure, it’s indirect, but we pay it back with our higher cost of living in the future.4

Additional National Debt Due to Stimulus Negotiations

When President Trump negotiated to pass the first stimulus bill, the Democrats requested to include funding for their own agenda that had nothing to do with Coronavirus, such as:

  1. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  2. Public Broadcasting
  3. Green New Deal

President Trump had to negotiate with the Democrats to focus on things required for American citizens during the crisis. That caused unnecessary delays in getting the much-needed funds into the hands of the people.

In the end, Trump had to give in with a few unrelated requests just to get the money out to the people finally. It’s the art of the deal that he wrote about in 1987—one needs to give in to some stupid things to get what’s needed.

Anyway, the point is to show you how increased spending by our government is becoming acceptable. We are accepting it by voting for politicians that impose regulations and expenses on unrelated things that don’t serve our present needs.

How Politics Plays Into the Pandemic Scenario

The pandemic brought out the real agenda of some politicians. They want power, and they abuse that power, destroying anyone who does not donate to their political campaigns.

Unfortunately, politicians who despised President Trump let their hatred interfere with their need to protect their citizens. In New York, for example, President Trump set up beds in the Jacob Javits Convention Center for people with Coronavirus and brought in the USNS Comfort Hospital Ship to house infected patients.

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All that was wasted when Governor Cuomo refused to use those facilities.5 I can only imagine his reason was that he didn’t want to give Trump credit for saving lives. So he sent people with COVID-19 to nursing homes instead, infecting hundreds of elderly who died from it.

Politicians that enjoy power rather than considering the welfare of their constituents kept doing the wrong thing. Another example is how governors of various states demand enforcement of lockdown orders for small businesses due to COVID-19, but they look the other way for large companies that pay donations to their political campaigns.6

Apple and Google Create a Surveillance Plan

China already has a public tracking of all citizens. Now the U.S. is planning to track everyone's whereabouts, including monitoring whom we are in contact with throughout our daily lives, with a smartphone app being created in a joint effort by Apple and Google.7

That's just one example of how we are learning to accept reduced privacy, and it may continue to become a thing of the past.

A Cashless Society Is in Our Future

People won't want to handle cash any longer for fear of spreading viruses. Instead, restaurants and retail establishments will require payment over a smartphone at the checkout counter.

Of course, not everyone has a smartphone. But I imagine credit and debit cards will be the solution. People who can't handle their finances with credit cards can safely use debit cards for retail purchases.

The card readers will be touch-less, no longer requiring touching the screen or pressing buttons. Just pay with your smartphone using Apple Pay or Google Pay.

National Health Records Database

Present technology already allows patients to access a portal to see their personal informational results with their doctor. But after the pandemic, it became necessary to have a national database of everyone’s health records, and it seems to be accepted by the public due to health concerns.

Completed in April 2020, Oracle has developed such a system with the “Oracle Public Health Management System” that provides a “National Electronic Health Records (EHR) Database.” The system is already used to collect over 5.6 million health records to screen volunteers for COVID-19 clinical trials.8

Working From Home Will Be a Common Routine for Some

During the COVID-19 pandemic, essential personnel had equipment set up in their home so that they could work remotely.

I would not be surprised if that practice will continue because companies will have learned how to ensure employees are doing their work.

The experience also gave management a good understanding of cost savings. Using the Internet to set up at-home business communications is low-cost and easy to maintain. That will also help eliminate costly office space.

Essential personnel can work from home, reducing office costs.

Essential personnel can work from home, reducing office costs.

Finding Long Lost Friends

With the extra time people have had while sheltering at home and practicing social distancing, many were making more phone calls. They were reaching out to stay in touch with friends and family members.

Some people learned to take that to another step—searching for friends they lost touch with and emailing or calling them to see how they have been handling the crisis.

That trend may continue since people will have reconnected and fostered new relationships.

New Job Opportunities

Although many people were laid off, other opportunities have been developing. Companies have been discovering alternative products and services that they never considered before the pandemic.

Ford, GM, and Tesla discovered they were able to retool their plants to manufacture ventilators needed for COVID-19 patients.

Walmart needed to hire thousands of additional workers to deliver food orders to people who were self-quarantining.9

All this experience could very well open a whole new way of thinking, creating opportunities for companies to profit from additional developments. That will eventually create more jobs to America as well.

Reliance on Communications Technology

The development of 5G cellular technology by China's Huawei would be under the control of communist China. That can have drastic effects on our national security. No one has any knowledge of how that can impact us economically and socially if China can monitor the activities and communication of all American citizens.

Lessons learned from the pandemic may make many American communications companies reconsider using Huawei's chips in their phones and 5G infrastructure.10

Shipment of Coronavirus Vaccines Verified by Blockchain

A new way of managing medication safety is necessary for our society to avoid fraudulent activities that cause dangerous counterfeit drugs entering the supply chain.

That has been made ever so urgent with the necessity to control the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. They need to be protected during shipment by being kept at a controlled temperature. The use of blockchain technology will assure the proper handling and delivery of the vaccines.11

Blockchain is the same technology that authenticates transactions with cryptocurrency, but its use has expanded into other fields requiring authentication.

Those who administer the vaccine can check the blockchain to know the exact origin, the path it traveled, and how it was handled during shipment.

Three companies utilizing blockchain technology for this purpose:

  1. ShipChain - Developed more effective transport and logistics.
  2. Ambrosus Inc. - Developed sensors on shipment packages to assure product quality.
  3. Chronicled, Inc. - Created MediLedger Network for asset tracking used by Pfizer, Gilead, Genentech, and Bayer.
social-changes-after-coronavirus-pandemic

Lifestyle Changes With More Awareness

Coronavirus has made us more aware of what’s required to remain safe and healthy. We press elevator buttons, touch screens on ATM terminals, and touch doorknobs. All of which could have live viruses present.

During the pandemic, we learned to take care of ourselves as never before:

  • Avoiding handshaking
  • Practicing better hygiene
  • Considering things we overlooked before

An example of that last point is the handling of shoes. People used to hold their shoes from the bottom, where viruses could be present. Who ever thought of washing their hands after removing their shoes when they come home?

All things considered, in addition to the economic and health-conscious changes, people will have a different social attitude.

What the Future Holds After COVID-19

  • We have experienced the need for social distancing.
  • We all learned a new social skill of shelter-in-place when necessary.
  • We have acknowledged the need for better hygiene.
  • We even found new ways to order our food online.

I don’t think we will go back to our old way of life completely. New rules and policies that were necessary during the crisis will have left an impression on our society. Some of the changes we learned to respect will remain with us.

References

  1. “Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China” - Wikipedia
  2. Keith Bradsher and Liz Alderman. (April 2, 2020). “The World Needs Masks. China Makes Them, but Has Been Hoarding Them” - NY Times
  3. Richard Rubin. (December 21, 2020). “Second Stimulus Checks: When Will They Arrive, How Much Will They Be?” Wall Street Journal
  4. Randall W. Forsyth. (April 24, 2020). "Today’s Stimulus Spending Will Lead to Tomorrow’s Inflation." Barrons
  5. Amanda Macias. (April 17, 2020). “Nearly 90% of the US Navy hospital ship in New York is empty amid coronavirus fight” CNBC.com
  6. Jeffrey Birnbaum. (June 6, 2000). “The Money Men: The Real Story of Fund-raising's Influence on Political Power in America” - Crown Publishing. ISBN 978-08129-31198
  7. Zak Doffman. (Apr 20, 2020). “Apple And Google Contact-Tracing Surprise” - Forbes
  8. Margaret Lindquist Brand. (December 17, 2020). “Oracle Tech At Center Of COVID-19 Vaccine And Treatment Rollout” - Forbes
  9. Kevin Smith. (March 20,2020)."Walmart, Amazon, Domino’s hiring thousands amid coronavirus pandemic." - Los Angeles Daily News
  10. Ken Dilanian. (Jan 28, 2020). “Does China's Huawei really pose a threat to national security?” - NBC News
  11. "How Blockchain Helps Get Us the Vaccine." (August 18, 2020). Consumer Technology Association

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Glenn Stok

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