Coronapocalypse Now!

A Whole New Deal, Like It Or Not

Let’s imagine for a moment. Let’s imagine a perfect world filled with highly educated scientists, doctors and engineers who will manage to, even under these stressful conditions we find ourselves under, capable of doing the impossible.

In our ideal world we would be creating an effective, 99.9975% safe, non-toxic, easily and reliably-produced vaccine against a nearly impossible opponent of a betacoronavirus capable of being administered to every person on the planet over a three to five year period rendering them safe and immune to our current mortal enemy, SARS-CoV-2.

If you only understood how many miracles would be woven into any circumstance as I described it. Check out Pandemic Earth for articles on vaccine creation.

In the meantime, we are looking at a minimum of 12 months from now before anyone could be certain any vaccine created would be safe enough to administer to an entire planet.

To the scientific team who does this right, a Nobel Prize. To one who gets it almost right but is rushed, drops a zero, makes a tiny mistake, tens of thousands or even millions of potential deaths from a failed vaccine lie in the balance.

Businesses cannot wait forever. I am one of the proponents of waiting as long as we can, saving as many lives as we can, keeping hospitals clear so we can deal with coronavirus victims and any other kind of trauma the world is still throwing at us.

Because when you think about what has to be done to HAVE a future, the Era of the Coronavirus will create new work environments completely different than are used yesterday, no matter what job you used to have.

To do that, we are going to have to redefine what is safe:

What kind of space?
What kind of airflow?
What kind of accommodations, space constraints?
What kind of lunch spaces? Will they even exist?

Speaking of Lunch: Does anyone work more than four hours a day? Five? Six? Less is more, in my mind. Being at work is now twice as stressful as it was in the Before Time.

How stressful? Let’s see.

Check email. I hate sharing a cube but we cut down on space.
[Thank god there are only two of us to a cubicle.]

Then go to a meeting.
[Not allowed to be longer than 15 minutes. Another blessing.]

Damn, the boss cancelled the short meeting, wants a 45 minute Zoom meeting, instead.
[I might die today while I use the bathroom or while I go get lunch. Think I am going to stay at my desk.]

Going to have to invest in breath mint, mouthwash and companies which make dental products. Dentists are going to clean up.
[Did I even get a dental plan with this job? Are there any dentists left I can afford?]

Restaurant owner who made it through the first three months.
I hope more people are going to start showing up.
[I have half as many seats. How will I catch up my rent?]

Lunch-goer brave enough to go outside with their N95
The lines are so long for the good restaurants.
[I might as well go home and put that quarantine cooking skill to use.]

These are just a few very different things which have to happen. Every place will have to negotiate space, they will either need more, or have to serve less, or in the worst of all worlds have to do both.

Offices will close, rent is liable to be difficult to determine what a good deal will be. If landlords raise rents, businesses may opt to leave since they may not be able to have the staff loads they used to.

Or they will have to redesign and renegotiate their workforce, completely changing their business model to maximize the use of their space without putting their workers at risk. What about sanitation?

How good will it have to be now? Will we have to include a sanitation custodial service focusing on maintaining biological cleansing versus the coronavirus? Running an office became much more expensive.

Some industries will be all be destroyed. In particular, cruise ships, tourism and international travel, some aspects of the service industry will just have fewer people working full time, collapsing those industries to pre-1980 levels.

While we are on the subject, does full-time even still exist?

Will anyone want to put their lives at risk for eight hours a day, where a single mistake might put you in danger of catching the coronavirus if they go into an office?

Working at home may become a norm but for how many? Will it be enough to offset traffic, since many people won’t want to take mass transit. Ironically, mass transit will still be used by those who don’t drive, or can’t afford a car. They will also be taking the greatest daily risks.

What about healthcare? Are we still planning on staying hostages to a system which isn’t so much healthcare as profit-care. We only care if we can make a profit providing medical services as expensively as possible whether you can afford it or not.

Oops. You caught a bad bout of coronavirus and now you have to spend $125,000 for ten days if ICU ventilator time. What company wants to keep employees under that potential risk? Better get rid of all of these OLD workers, am I right? Ageism? No. They just don’t have the skill-sets we need — that’s the usual line.

Traffic: Back to sucking. Worse, because no one wants to use mass transit, but they may not have a choice.

Everything is going to be more expensive especially after the next food famine. Sorry. Spoilers.

Suffice it to say, nothing about work will be remotely the same. How many people will find jobs before they run out of money? How many will become homeless? How many new Trumpvilles —

[Think Hoovervilles during the first Depression — Google is your friend]

— will pop up under the nation’s crumbling underpasses?

I found a checklist by KPMG talking about all the things a business needs to think about before reopening.

Before we close: I see you vampire squid, Big Business…

I understand why corporations, insurance agencies, unemployment offices and other state and federal agencies are passing the buck when it comes to our 30% unemployment rate.

State going bankrupt
(except they can”t)

But Feds say we aren’t going to help you
(but they have to)

Meanwhile out of fear:
They force businesses to open.

Tell them to bring their workers back, safe or not.
If they don’t comply, then they lose their unemployment.

Then they are penniless, homeless, destitute.
Or risk death daily.

They will risk death.
Until they make a mistake and then die.

Or worse, they live with life-threatening expensive complications.
in a society without healthcare.

They eventually go broke,
losing the job which made them sick.

Commit suicide.
Corporation hires another desperate mook.

Someone willing to make the Faustian bargain.
Your money or your life.

Goodnight. Don’t forget to tip your waitress. No wait. Tipping should die too. Pay your restaurant staff a meaningful wage with health care and paid days off. What is this? The damned middle ages?

Climate Change By the Elements

Envisioning the New Normal: Part 1

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