Our New Normal

Our New Normal

Koen Samuel, Assistant Editor

It is apparent that our communities, our countries, and our world will not completely go back to the way things were before the coronavirus any time soon. What’s important to remember is that scientists say it won’t be safe to completely eliminate social distancing guidelines until a vaccine is developed. Different scientists speculate that a vaccine could take anywhere from 6-18 months. Until then, our normal might be different.

So in a couple weeks or months when people might be able to go back out into small public areas such as restaurants, that scene might not even look the same. California Governor Gavin Newsom says that when the public is opened back up, restaurants will look much different. You’ll need to get your temperature taken before you enter the restaurant, the waiter will be wearing gloves and a mask, and the menus might be disposable. To top it off, it will have half the tables to reduce the capacity of people.

For large public areas, such as sports venues, the return date for those seem even further down the road. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has talked about eliminating large gatherings such as concerts or sporting events until 2021. While this has just been proposed for Los Angeles and California, this could be the precedent for many other cities, states, or large scale public events. 

The notion about having large gatherings brings institutions like schools into play. From the elementary level to university, the end of this semester is pretty much over, but what would the beginning of next semester look like? This raises many hypotheticals. In areas with hundreds if not thousands of kids, will the online structure of education continue into the fall?

This past week, the White House laid out their three step plan for reopening the country and the economy. That in itself poses challenges, as before that happen there would need to be constant testing. According to Vox, the range for this requirement would range from a minimum of 750,000 tests per week to 22 million tests per day. That seems aspirational, as The New York Times estimates that currently the U.S. has only tested 3.1 million people total.  

In some states they’ve already reached the peak, some states haven’t, and some haven’t been hit nearly as hard. As we get closer to easing stay at home orders it’s important to remember that this is still a serious issue, and it might not completely go away. Now household name Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, turned heads when he said that the virus would return in the fall, similar to the pattern of the flu. So this will be a seasonal occurrence. Fauci did preface that statement by saying the U.S. would be better prepared. 

This tells us that while it will return, we’ll know what to expect. So while in months time we might be closer to life before the pandemic, some of the protocols we have in place now won’t be going away.