Buckle up for a new way of life

The Coronavirus will change the world, the nation and North Carolina forever.  When you consider what we have learned and what we have given up, how we have transformed our lives during this pandemic will change the way we live, work and play.  Almost every aspect of American life will be altered going forward.  We knew that at some point in time we would continue down the road of digital transformation. That’s been speeded up by the virus. Let’s review some of the changes we can expect in our lives.

Social distancing will not go away and we will lose the centuries old common greetings of a hand shake and a hug.  The handshake which originated in the 5th Century B.C. in Greece will be doomed in this new reality of practicing safe behavior.  The handshake was a gesture of peaceful intentions by extending your right hand to show you were not holding a weapon.  Now it’s about the elbow!  The old-fashioned show of affection and friendship, the hug, which originated 450 years ago in Scandinavia, is now a practice that is taboo, a result of the fear of being contaminated.  Hopefully, in time these two gestures of greeting and friendship will come back to our society and the world.

Technology appears to be the biggest winner during this war against the plague.  We can expect to see a transition from touch screens to voice controls, much like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo.  Smartphones will gain greater importance for conducting business, banking, travel, etc., especially with the pending rollout of 5G. When you review the different aspects of how we live, all options are on the table.

In education, more and more parents who can afford it, will opt for digital learning to gain greater control of the education of their children. For the children in rural North Carolina, the issue of broadband and access to computers becomes more and more important for equal access.  

Educators have discovered they can instruct students from afar with comprehensive lessons plans and interaction of students using video, instant research and engagement via broadband and laptop computers. In North Carolina, every child enrolled in school is being exposed to digital learning, which is impacting the education being provided during the pandemic.  Educators and parents have to prepare themselves for the changes that emanated from this period for the near future.

Colleges will offer more online classes potentially impacting the trend of rising tuition fees.  

The media, which is always important during crises, has been challenged and diminished as a result of the move to digital.  The mainstream media, specifically print publishing will be forced to increase their migration to digital or risk extinction as a source of news and information, as people expect and deserve immediate access to news and information that impacts their lives.  

In the medical field, the increase in telehealth and virtual doctor visits will gain a foothold for medical care, with fewer visits to medical centers and hospitals.  Prescriptions will be filled online and mailed to patients with greater frequency as patients try and avoid going to the hospitals for care.  We can expect expansion of hospitals and medical care to combat the annual return of Covid-19.  

More online ordering of prepared food, grocery items and other goods will be done online and delivered to the sanctuary of homes via delivery services and in time with drones. 

Financial transactions and banking will accelerate and e-commerce will expand employing a cashless system. We can expect savings accounts to grow as people will want to ensure they have emergency funds and access to credit via mobile apps.  

Business meetings and conferences will move even more toward video conferencing and reduced air travel as we have learned to communicate and work differently.  The new technology, 5G will accelerate internet speed of delivery for personal and business operations.

We can expect a decrease in of non-violent crime incarceration to reduce overcrowding of jails and prisons.  

The world, the nation and local communities will be searching for ways to avoid another pandemic by forever changing their lifestyles and being well stocked on the important consumer products of toilet paper, paper towels and all of the sanitizing products that we long have taken for granted.

We live in a different world and it will continue to change.  The good old days are just that, old days.  Buckle up for the new way of life that will emerge after the world gets the better of the Coronavirus.

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