We thought we could beat COVID-19 by staying at home for a couple of months and practicing social distancing. We were very, very wrong. As soon as we rolled back the lockdown, the virus returned with a strain “nearly 10 times more infectious,” according to scientists at the Scripps Research in Florida. It will not let up until we understand its message: It’s time to remake human civilization.
Here is a partial list of where the number of confirmed cases is on the rise once more: United States, Russia, France, Israel, Argentina, Brazil (which never really went into lockdown), Italy, Germany, and South Korea (previously the gold standard of success). Wherever you look, the tactic of “stay home until it goes away” is failing miserably, and the new strain guarantees that it will continue to fail. This leaves us only one option: restructure our countries so that everyone gets their basic sustenance while learning what in the world is going on. Any country that does not employ this tactic is bound to undergo complete social, political, and economic meltdown.
We will not be able to reopen businesses and shopping centers since they will become contagion hubs. According to Bloomberg, “One third of U.S. job losses [are] at risk of turning permanent.” I think Bloomberg is far too optimistic. Since the virus will not allow the reopening of businesses, they will simply shut down, along with all the businesses dependent on them. In the near future, nearly half of America will remain without income, and without any possibility of finding one.
Over time, the percentage of incomeless Americans will only grow, “as companies from manufacturers to retailers adapt to a post-virus world, cutting off even more people from secure work,” according to the Bloomberg Economics research. And considering that the virus isn’t even gone, the impact on the job market will be even more devastating than predicted.
Therefore, every government and municipal authority must take immediate steps to prevent the systems’ collapse that will follow such a massive layoff nightmare. In such a state of uncertainty, people’s most basic fear will be hunger and shelter. The government, for its part, must implement immediate measures to provide water, food, power, and housing to everyone. If people are left hungry or on the street, there will be mayhem that will dwarf what we have seen with the recent George Floyd protests.
Next, the government and local authorities will need to inform everyone that the situation has changed and their lives will not return to what they were before March 2020. People will have to be briefed on what it means to live in a world where very few people work, and those who do, provide for everyone else’s sustenance. The rest of the people will be doing what we should have started doing long ago: communicating with one another.
Once people’s provision is guaranteed by the new structure that the authorities will establish, the rest of the people will spend their abundance of free time simply socializing. After all, this is what being human is about. There will be no reason to compete over jobs, no cause for business rivalries, and all that people will need to do is talk to one another and discover how great it is to simply be together—all races, all colors, all people. Instead of fighting, people will find their new meaning in life in connecting to other people rather than in racing against everyone to get to the top, exhausted, scarred, and alone.
To make sure that people get the information required to live in a civilization of connection, authorities will have to stipulate reception of all benefits on participation in learning how to live in this new society. In this way, people will get their physical, intellectual, and emotional needs satisfied through the system. Faster than we think, a new society will emerge, where bigotry and hatred have no place, and people’s primary occupation is making friends.
And if these words sound like fantasy, consider what you thought about life in February, and what you think about it now…