The virus is Boss. Building a new normal means accepting this. Denial is pretty dysfunctional. Those waiting for silver bullets, vaccines, or the virus’s elimination simply make themselves nuts. Such ideas get in the way of working up a new normal. If and when vaccines are developed they may cause as much confusion, conflict, and horror as the virus itself.
‘The economy’ is always and only what its situation allows. Look at ‘the economy’ within jails or refugee camps. In our situation ‘the economy’ of yesteryear is not a good guide to what we do now, what we will eventually learn the Boss permits and facilitates.
Some will be able to bubble, a reprieve but no escape. Bubbles are human and flawed. The virus is neither and has its powerful combination of immense numbers, patience, and ceaseless vigilance. It is brilliantly fashioned to inhabit our talking species. Boss will have its way. Obviously the vast majority of us have no way to bubble. Eventually all of us will meet our new neighbor, maybe several times.
As we see from elsewhere around the world, there is much we can do to fashion a new normal around our own ideas rather than the virus’s. One stupid message is to ignore it in the light of how our responses (e.g. in education) are damaging the economy and society generally. Yes, perhaps the deepest damage is to young people’s education.
Those who thrive will get over their hubris and embrace our neighbor for what it is. Widely available testing would help us get ahead. It is curious we cannot get this in our super-tech age. Vaccines will fall prey to those who interpret ‘freedom’ as their right to remain vulnerable and infect others.
As with masking, we are entering one of those history-shaping periods of being unable to co-habit with those of differing opinion. Many would rather traffic the infection than change beliefs. This choice is not the Boss’s, which does not care one way or the other. The choice is quintessentially human.