Our readers tell us how they think coronavirus will change life in America

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It’s become almost cliche for reporters, pundits and commentators to say that the coronavirus will lead to permanent changes in America. But, what does that mean?

We asked our readers to tell us what changes, if any, they believe will happen to everyday life in America once the coronavirus pandemic passes. Below, you’ll find several responses to our question.

Donald Franke:

Of course, it will be changed.  How it changes depends on us.

Doug Duncan:

The first thought I had was that if we don’t find a vaccine or cure or some way to kill this virus, it’s going to be pretty tough on the older generation of which I am one. This will drag out until everyone has contracted the virus. Either live or die.

Second; Mother Nature is culling the herd and in so doing, scaring the pants of everybody, except a few ignorant individuals and organizations. And with our assistance (staying home, stopped driving, etc., etc.) Mother Nature is cleaning up the atmosphere at an alarming rate. My hope is we see (the mountains on the horizon, hah) and finally understand what we’re doing to our planet and take steps to correct the direction we’ve been going in the past.

John Wuthrich:

Forever is a long time. It will change some things for a long time and others will go back to normal in a short time. There have been pandemics and plagues since the creation. No, It won’t change American life forever in any major way. We will hopefully learn from it and be better prepared and react faster.

David Sawyer:

Once we come out of the current stage of rising numbers of cases, local, state, and federal decisions makers will need to decide how much freedom they should extend to Americans. 

They will need to balance the economic versus health interests. At a minimum, those at greatest risk will most likely need to take extra precautions even when the economy begins to reopen. They will essentially need to be quarantined until there are either better drugs to fight the virus or a vaccine is introduced.

Businesses, particularly the service industry, will come roaring back. However, there will be limitations over the coming weeks, months, and possibly years. Prior to the growth in the number of cases in Utah, restaurants began taking steps to limit exposure of employees and other patrons. Once the economy opens back up, and for the foreseeable future, these steps will be necessary.

If a breakout occurs in a particular area, it will be important for public health officials to take necessary actions to contain the spread. These actions will look similar to what we are currently facing. However, if caught early enough, these restrictions can be limited to certain hot spots (towns, cities, counties).

Public health officials should also continue to encourage many of the same steps we are taking today well into the future. We should continue to do the following until there is a vaccine: 

1) maintain 6-feet of distance, 

2) limit numbers of patrons in stores with stores taking spacing and sanitation steps, 

3) limit gatherings to appropriate levels at sporting and other events, 

4) recommend the continued use of face masks.

Richard Watson:

I believe that a lot of Americans will work on being better prepared for the future.

That would include some basic necessities such as food and hygiene products that can be easily stored.

And we will be better at washing our hands and coughing into our elbows.

However and based on history, we Americans do not learn from history. The cry for “Be Prepared” has been preached for decades.

As a people, we will go back to our normal ways.

David Whipple:

This is a big fear thing. 

America is smart enough to pull through this together. There are medical remedies already popping up.

Don’t fall into the fear of it all. That is how religion, media get their business and then what politicians see happening and jump on it

Lorie Fowlke:

I believe that anyone who thinks our country (and the world) will go back to business as usual, with no changes, does not understand this virus. Unfortunately, there are many who have not taken the time to educate themselves about the virus and continue to believe the government is overreacting to control us. These are the people who will keep the virus alive. When the peak is reached and we begin to decline in case numbers, people who go out again and the virus will spread again. There will be pockets of outbreaks which will probably continue for a long time, necessitating screening for the virus in many locations (i.e. airports, borders, group gatherings).

Carl Stark:

Will America go back to the way it was before COVID-19? No. This will be viewed in the same lens as a post-9/11 world.  Things will be different.

I think that this pandemic has affected this country deeply.  More people will be concerned about biological issues and emergency preparedness.  Disasters don’t care about borders or political sides. 

People will demand better responses from local, state and federal governments. There is also a lot of notice regarding how churches are operating at this time.  Did they take this issue seriously? Were they concerned about the community, or only themselves. I think that people will also be watching how different businesses reacted during this pandemic.  How did they treat their employees? How did they respond to public safety needs? How did they adjust to the demands of the consumer?

Someday sports and theater will return.  It’s very difficult to estimate when this may happen in this very fluid situation.  Until then, I think that most people are concentrating on taking care of themselves and helping others.

Bruce Finch:

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” 

I think this quote is applicable here. Some things will change a lot, some a little. Some will change permanently while others will return to near pre-pandemic circumstances. While change is constant, there are jolts or pivotal events. It is yet to be seen if this is one of those jolts or just a big pot-hole that passes quickly with little lasting effect.

I think the largest impacts and most enduring changes will be on the government’s role in the private economy and attitudes of the populace on socialization of medical field. Because politicians and news media have scared the populace, the people are more willing to trade freedom for security.

Chris Kyler:

As a result of our collective experience during this time, I think how we think about education will forever be changed. I think educators will place more emphasis on gaining the skills for remote teaching. I think parents and students will be much more open to online learning; it may become prevalent. We certainly won’t need so many school buildings. The saving could be massive.

Mary Nielson:

The news media has overrated this Pandemic for sure!  I certainly hope that we don’t go back to normal! 

I would love to see an America where we are much more grateful for all that we do have. I have felt like we the people have been locked down and locked up for a virus that is not as harmful as the influenzas. I agree with the principle of staying home if you are sick, I have always wished that more people would do that! I don’t get the flu shot and I would not get a COVID-19 shot if one became available! But I think people over 65 should especially if they have another significant illness. What happened to being smart with our health and since when have we made well people stay home from work? 

This is America for heck sakes!