Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021
Here’s an experiment: just search on the words “Will life be normal”. I typed that in on Google this morning with no other qualifiers. But Google completed the question for me, as it always does, displaying: “will life be normal in 2021,” “will life be normal after covid,” and then, plaintively, “will life be normal soon.”
Now I’m curious. Did the search engine assume my question had to do with COVID because almost everything I search for does, or does everyone get the same suggestions because that’s what we all want to know? Please try it and let me know–is it just me?
One thing we may agree on is that history’s trajectory has taken an unexpected turn and after this pandemic some things will never be the same. Not for us as individuals. Not for the world. Still, if we think of “normal” not as “the same as 2019,” but in a looser comparative sense, some things will be more normal in the next six months. Of course they will.
Certainly the epidemiologists push back on any notion that life will return to normal after the vaccine. The CDC says to keep on with the masks and the distancing, and just about anybody medical on the news says the same. But I think they’re just trying to keep the spread limited for as long as possible until more people are vaccinated and /or immune. Because economically and socially change is in the air.
And here are the headlines to prove it:
- “A return to the office for workers may be coming as vaccinations increase,” CNBC, Feb. 9, 2021. Some telecommuters want to return to the workplace and some would rather stay home, but according to this article about 40% of employers want their workers back in the office as early as March.
- “Travel agencies, cruise lines and airlines gear up for rebound in bookings,” NBC News, Feb. 12, 2021. Not mincing words, this article starts right out: “As the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations is ramping up, so is consumer confidence — and with it, a surge in travel bookings for later this year and for 2022.” 2020 was the travel industry’s worst year on record, but as vaccinations increase and the case counts go down, more people will feel confident about getting out. Think demographics: retired people get vaccinated and they love to travel. A 2019 AARP article entitled, “Boomers Have Big Travel Plans in 2020,” reported finding that “most Boomers expect to take three or four domestic trips in 2020 and one or two abroad.” And traveling Boomers stay in hotels, eat in restaurants, buy souvenirs, and visit museums. Acutely conscious of the passage of time, they will get out there as soon as possible.
- “New York aims to reopen Broadway, large venues, with extensive Covid testing, Gov. Cuomo says,” CNBC, Feb. 28, proving it’s not just about vaccines. Theaters, sport venues, and concerts will benefit from rapid testing and I think we’ll see some opening by late summer.
- “Are the Tokyo Olympics really going to happen?” ESPN, Feb. 9, 2021. Yes, according to the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo organizers. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for July 23, 2021, and a playbook of safety precautions has been published. If it comes off, what a great morale booster that would be for the world!
- “COVID PASSPORTS COULD DELIVER A ‘SUMMER OF JOY,’ DENMARK HOPES,” Action News Now, Feb. 13. Similarly, Denmark has high hopes for the European Soccer Championships which they are scheduled to host this summer. In their view, a COVID passport would not just be for vaccinations, but for test results and other relevant information. Not all EU countries agree on whether or how this would work, but I predict that by mid summer there will be some kind of consensus on the concept.
- “CDC guidelines to reopen schools: Teacher vaccinations not a must, 6 feet separation advised,” USA Today, Feb. 13. Opening schools is a high priority for all levels of education this year. “Reopening California State University hinges on vaccines, new chancellor says,” EdSource, Feb. 10, 2021. Well, it probably won’t entirely hinge on vaccines. My guess is that schools will open in the fall with a combination of vaccines, testing, and whatever exposure precautions are recommended at the time.
So, feeling encouraged, I asked Google “will we celebrate the fourth of july this year”. It told me the Fourth is on a Sunday. That’s not what I asked! So Google is not my personal Ouija board.
I guess there’s no point is asking it what I’m getting for Christmas.
Today’s Notable Headlines
“So you’re fully vaccinated. What can you safely do amid coronavirus pandemic?” SILive.com, Feb. 13, 2021. https://www.silive.com/news/2021/02/so-youre-fully-vaccinated-what-can-you-safely-do-amid-coronavirus-pandemic.html
“A return to the office for workers may be coming as vaccinations increase,” CNBC, Feb. 9, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/09/a-return-to-the-office-may-be-coming-as-vaccinations-increase.html
“Travel agencies, cruise lines and airlines gear up for rebound in bookings,” NBC News, Feb. 12, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/travel-agencies-cruise-lines-airlines-gear-rebound-bookings-n1257611
“Boomers Have Big Travel Plans in 2020,” AARP, Jan. 2020. https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2019/2020-travel-trends.html
“New York aims to reopen Broadway, large venues, with extensive Covid testing, Gov. Cuomo says,” CNBC, Feb. 8, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/08/ny-aims-to-reopen-broadway-large-venues-with-covid-testing-cuomo-says.html
“Are the Tokyo Olympics really going to happen?” ESPN, Feb. 9, 2021. https://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/30861660/are-tokyo-olympics-really-going-happen
“COVID PASSPORTS COULD DELIVER A ‘SUMMER OF JOY,’ DENMARK HOPES,” Action News Now, Feb. 13, 2021. https://www.actionnewsnow.com/content/national/573789972.html
“CDC guidelines to reopen schools: Teacher vaccinations not a must, 6 feet separation advised,” USA Today, Feb 13, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/12/new-cdc-guidelines-reopening-schools-covid-released/6736066002/
“Reopening California State University hinges on vaccines, new chancellor says,” EdSource, Feb. 10, 2021. https://edsource.org/2021/reopening-california-state-university-hinges-on-vaccines-new-chancellor-says/648522
CDC FAQ About COIVD-10 Vaccinations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.
Why am I doing this?
The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. I intend to journal the pandemic experience from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, as a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary world crisis.
You are on History’s Edge.