We have been living with COVID-19 for about a year now, and we will continue to do so for a while longer. But just as the virus has evolved to adapt, survive, and spread, so has the rest of the world.
This begs the question, how will the pandemic in 2021 be any different? what has changed? And what’s to come next?
We understand COVID-19 better than before
Where once the virus seemed like an elusive, far away storm cloud that only others would experience, now almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who has dealt with the virus.
What was thought to be overhype is now a daily reality, and healthcare workers as well as people recovering at home have learned to handle the virus more intricately.
A study has shown that the mortality rate for those hospitalized in New York in March 2020 was 25.6 percent. That figure fell to around 7.6 percent in August, with similar improvements found in the UK.
This fact dares to give the many a new hope that even without the vaccine, the pandemic in 2021 may be much more survivable and livable than previously thought.
From a health crisis to a logistical battle
The vaccine cavalry is on the way, but the road is a muddy one.
We now know that the main problem with achieving full or at least a practical level of immunization is getting the drug to people, fast. While some countries struggle to keep their vaccine supply in check with shipments being lost, expired, or squandered due to a plethora of reasons such as bad cold chain management and or just disappearing.
The road ahead is a rough one, not to mention the inherent scale of this undertaking is something beyond anything humanity has ever attempted.
A number of factors help and hinder the vaccination process, including but not limited to the technology at the country’s disposal that would allow them to maintain the vaccine in their proper storage circumstances.
Another factor would be the people themselves having a lack of trust in the effectiveness or safety of the vaccine and would much rather wait for others to try it first or even take their chances with the virus.
Remote work policies will become standard
Perhaps, for the first time in history, people can ask their employers “What is your work from home policy?” during an interview, with the expectation of a serious answer.
According to an article by the World Economic Forum (WEF), 69 percent of employees will be working from home for at least one day per week after the pandemic. This hybrid form of work is slowly becoming an expectation from both business leaders and employees.
Many employees themselves do not want to go back to the old way after having a taste of the alternative. Numbers provided by Statista 74 percent of employees site a work-life balance improvement, and a greater ability to tackle other life commitments around one’s career, while around 48 percent of U.S. employees would want to continue to trend well after the pandemic.
Yes, the virus has evolved, but we have evolved with it, and both of those occurrences are completely normal. Even if the road ahead looks murky and full of uncertainty, everyone has had some practice navigating the pandemic in 2021.