Worldwide the world is in ‘unprecedented’ territory, getting that word out of the way early as it has been used and abused by news outlets & blogs across the world in recent months, the fact remains though it’s true – we’re all treading uncertain water and the world has been turned, flipped over on its head.
We have no way of knowing what comes next, whilst there was plenty of warning signs about the virus itself, from Bill Gates 2015 TED talk, to numerous whistle blowers from China early in the virus’s spread, to the stark warnings coming out of Italy – a country with a very good healthcare system, overwhelmed by a ‘tsunami’ of cases – the same patterns or ‘curve’ is now being replicated worldwide.
We’re not here to judge countries preparation or lack thereof, we’re here to guess how life might look after the various countries lockdowns have been lifted. Assuming that the estimated timeframe for up to 18 months for a vaccine turns out to be true
International Relationships will be strained
That international relationships will be strained feels like the low hanging fruit of this article, the signs have been there for years that our giant blocs are growing further apart and taking further measures to protect their own sectors rather than working in unison globally.
From the resource war of outbidding for PPE & testing kits, to how various countries behaved during the epidemic. Trumps remarks towards & the administrations refusal to call the virus by its official name ( COVID-19 ) and instead refer to it as the ‘chinese virus’ or ‘Wuhan strain / virus’ and Chinas lack of transparency will hurt both for years to come.
The ‘America first’ platform and Americas pulling out of various global agreements and treaties has already caused a strain on foreign relations and their allies, the recent behaviour of this administration might be the straw that breaks the camels back as measures Trump took in cutting costs, sacking the entire pandemic response team in 2018 will have had a disastrous effect on the international response to this virus. From Trump threatening to freeze funding to the world health organisation to pulling out of the Paris climate accord agreement, there is more evidence of the United States moving further away from its global responsibilities and in some cases, flat out abandoning their allies. The USA populations opinion on these might reflect in the election results.
Chinas international standing will have taken a hammering from an economic & standing point. The effect of Chinas lockdown early in the virus had a huge impact in the world economy as China is rightly known as ‘the factory of the world’. This is before you even consider the vast majority of medicine & PPE is also manufactured in China. Now that the world is in dire straits and requiring this PPE & tests, much of it is turning out to be faulty & not fit for use. This might lead to a global reexamination of supply chains or legislation preventing X% of economic reliance or medical reliance on one country, or as some want, return of manufacturing to home countries though how sustainable that is from a minimum wage and logistics standpoint remains to be seen.
The overwhelming issue however remains with Chinas lack of information about the virus from the start. In addition, the case numbers & fatalities don’t add up for the evidence of how far it had spread across China. There is numerous conspiracy theories about the true number but without evidence or a global investigation, it’s not a number likely to be known.
The world is a ‘miniature’ resource war over PPE, we can only cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t get worse. Countries have been stockpiling food and threatening food chains already, COVID 19 seems to have been the only thing thus far to have put a legitimate dent in the era of globalisation.
Travelling atmosphere will be similar to post 9/11 as far as screening checks go
It seems likely global travel will be stifled for a while as countries navigate which countries are ‘safe’ from preventative & protective measures taken. Europe and Asia seem to be closer to post lockdown life than countries like the United States, Mexico and Canada for example and the verdict is still out on how areas like Africa and India will be effected.
Airports, train stations and even bus stations might see a drastic change in security for a while. As travel links provide effective areas for the virus to spread, they also present good choke points or bottle necks in travel to effectively screen and monitor the flow of people & prevent those with symptoms from travelling further until cleared.
China has already implemented measures such as equipping their police officers with advanced cameras capable of spotting potential COVID victims with temperature measuring.
Unfortunately until the rollout of a vaccine occurs, it seems likely world wide travel won’t be the same and tourism & hospitality sectors will likely continue to struggle to recover to pre-covid times, though the upside is the cabin fever effecting everyone wit lockdown combined with airlines encouraging bookings with cheaper flights might lead to a quick boom in the future with some evidence showing so far, to recover some of the loss.
Brexit Britain will be boom or bust and the bust is the more likely scenario
Much of UK press has been pointed at the euro zones failures during the crisis but the reality is the UK has been the least prepared out of any country in Europe. A terrible ‘herd immunity’ strategy, quickly realised to be a terrible idea, the lack of willingness to lockdown and the ‘lockdown lite’ the government currently has in place which many citizens openly flout.
The UK’s mismanagement & blundering through the past few years of Brexit has brought on economic stress putting it in an either worse position for dealing with and the after effects of COVID 19.
Whilst the number of mortalities currently point to Spain & Italy being the most harshly impacted by the virus, the lack of preparations and lack of willingness to take critical action means it won’t be a huge surprise if the UK overtakes one or both and that’s not a baseless opinion either.
There is a multitude of evidence across the UK and Northern Ireland that the NHS was woefully under prepared especially as far as PPE goes; the UK had essentially 3 months to prepare and no such evidence seems to exist. Nurse & Doctors lives are literally depending on the private sector supplying hastily made visors & local communities making donations & home crafting / DIY’ing PPE for use.
As the UK Government seemed determined to put economy before healthcare & avoid following the rest of Europe & the WHO’s advice. It wouldn’t take much to put on a tin foil hat to suggest this was in deliberate effort to avoid being associated with the EU and even went as far as to ignore joining a joint order of ventilators with the EU , ventilators which are vital healthcare equipment absolutely essential in the saving of lives from the virus.
Whilst the argument for Brexit was always to be more free to trade globally without restrictions from Brussels, the UK might be in for a dose of a reality check being in a much weaker position for trade agreements from a leverage perspective, the potential boom may come as a shifting of supply chains occurs from a China fallout although these are unlikely to come to the UK since more manufacturers thus far seem to be leaving because of Brexit rather than joining.
Maybe a better argument could have been made for Brexit by a better party or collection of politicians but given the UK’s inability to bounce back from the last recession, the crucification post Brexit vote of the british pound, more money pissing away incidents than can be counted, the blundering of the brexit planning & treatment of their EU allies ( far too many examples ) and the complete inability to manage basic or advanced public infrastructure projects, finally the crushing national scandal of how poorly prepared and equipped ( bin bags for PPE ) the NHS was for a globally known outbreak means the likelihood of a Brexit bust seem much more likely as all the above paint a picture of a government in no control of its current situation and with no forward planning ability.
Add all the above, the straining of international relations and the UKs falling from grace on the world stage and it seems like a global shifting of world powers seems inevitable. The worst part is the Russians seem to be getting bolder
You’ll see a lot more people wearing masks for a while
Having travelled to China before, wearing masks in public there and across many asian countries seems to be fairly common place, from air pollution to common courtesy from those developing cold like symptoms to their fellow travellers – its fairly common across large parts of Asian countries.
Living here in Spain during lockdown, the majority of the population now wear masks in public when travelling for essential reasons and has done since mid-march at least. More people would be wearing them no doubt if they weren’t in such stretched demand.
Steep decline in Toilet Paper & Pasta Sales
The supply lines of the world for the most part kept on trucking despite what would be ‘preppers’ feared and after intital shocks in some countries of empty shelves and sold out stock, most are now back to normal supply.
Come post-quarantine life, many will still have entire cupboards worth of hand sanitiser, pasta & TP thus many won’t be in a hurry to buy any of the above for a few months.