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Question today: What will be our new normal?

Uploaded: Jul 14, 2020
Normal is gone. Our yesterdays will not be our tomorrows. Our current life styles are dramatically changing, and may never return.

Thank you COVID-19.

But what will life be like – after the November election and after the virus has finally been squelched – hopefully, a year or two from now.

The inspiration for my thoughts today came from NYT op-ed writer, David Leonhardt’s column, “It’s 2022. What Does Life Look Like?”

First, let’s get the political part of this discussion out of the way. Let’s presume Trump does not get re-elected this fall, and Biden wins. If Biden is elected, then it will take us a couple of years to eliminate all the executive orders Trump made, and to get our foreign relations into a positive position so that other nations, most importantly our allies, trust us again. Yes, trust takes time to build and grow.

I am also assuming (and hoping desperately) that by 2022 a vaccine will have been discovered, and sufficiently manufactured to prevent many of us around the world from getting coronavirus. Just think of the time it will take to manufacture the 330 million needed in the U.S, alone. If a vaccine is not found, the world will continue to be dramatically affected, a tomorrow I don’t particularly want to live through.

What will our local cities look like? What will our lifestyles actually be? Chances are we may have gotten used to avoiding crowds, Socialization will be critical, but are football and baseball games really good for crowds? Or movie theaters? Theaters may be a thing of the past.

What about our department stores? I walked through the Stanford Shopping Center the other day and already some well-known stores are boarded up. Others, like Neiman-Marcus, have declared bankruptcy. Will the center make it financially in the future? Or will people resort to online shopping?

Just as important is what kind of financial effect will this have on local economies, if shopping centers and downtowns diminish? Where will the tax dollars our cities have relied on for so long come from? Retail sales and restaurants have brought in millions to city coffers.

And that is the crux of my concern. If businesses and retail disappear, where will cities and school districts get their funding from? The state is facing similar problems. It’s time to start thinking about this.

What about working at home? Will businesses find it easier and a lot less costly to have most employees stay at home desks? What about all those existing downtown office buildings, and all those along El Camino Real? Will they become empty buildings? Will they be converted into housing so people can finally live in the area? But if businesses close, the jobless may move away. More loss of revenue.

And what about education in 2022? Most of us want our kids to go back to schools, but will districts be forced to consider the economic efficiencies of classes online? And then what do working parents do? And what about the need for more schools? There are fewer children now, and, as Leonhardt pointed out, “Birth rates have fallen, and the percentage of young people gong to college isn’t significantly rising anymore … Undergraduate enrollment fell 8 percent between 200 and 2018.”

What about newspapers? Many are already failing, and many more have cut their staffs in half. Fewer stores are advertising and newspapers need ad revenue to stay viable.

Newspapers are the guardians of democracy, and in a democracy where people get elected to office, who is going to watch over the behavior of the politicians? The public? How will they let others know if their city officials are on the take – or even corrupt? Will people care? They must.

Business travel has disappeared, for now. Will it come back? Or will companies find it easier to zoom, rather than fly 10 hours to an overseas meeting. Airlines will continue, but if business travel is eliminated, there will be fewer of us flying. Will that have any effect on Palo Alto Airport? Or Mineta Airport – or even SFO?

If people travel less, how does that affect hotels? Palo Alto is laden with hotels, and the taxes from them bring millions into the city. What if that money disappears? How will that affect Palo Alto’s current $190 million general fund, which already is experiencing a $40 million decline this year?

Will people still use cars? Yes, because kids need to be taken places and because elders can’t bike around town and because all of us need to get groceries that can’t be carried home on a bike. Cars will remain, but will be limited, I suggest. But traffic, our major concern a couple of months ago, will lessen!

Our future will change. We all face the same changes, and change is uncomfortable. Will all these bleak questions I ask start us thinking about our new normal?
We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

 +   10 people like this
Posted by The Oblivion Express, a resident of another community,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 4:21 pm

> "Our yesterdays will not be our tomorrows. Our current life styles are dramatically changing, and may never return."

>> "Our future will change."

^ A profound prophecy (albeit an obvious one).

Life is change regardless of pandemics, new world orders and social mores.

Those who fail to adapt to change will be left out in the cold or relegated to becoming human dinosaurs of a former existence and timeframe.

It happens with every generation and fading age group and it's no big deal unless one is inflexible, narrow-minded and/or clinging to the past.

We even see this in Palo Alto where various NIMBY types and 'semi-recently' arrived residents (post 1980) bemoan the changes they are witnessing at present.

Get over it and let the curmudgeonry go as no one lives forever and no one will give a hoot about the cares and concerns of those who have exited the Earthly realm.

Yes...blame Covid-19 for the various public health related restrictions and mandates currently in place but there are other factors affecting change...immigration from abroad, climate change/global warming, economic priorities etc.

We cannot go back to the pre-corona virus days just as we cannot go back to the 19th or 20th centuries.

Until a 'wayback machine' is invented (perhaps Elon Musk can design one), for those who cannot handle or adapt to the various perceived encumbrances of the present (and/or immediate future)...tough luck.

Eventually we will all die and any discomfitures (whether serious/petty or real/imagined) won't matter in the least.









 +  Like this comment
Posted by DIana Diamond, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 8:08 pm

DIana Diamond is a registered user.

The Oblivion Express:

Of course change is inevitable and we all get used to it. But I am warning cities that we have to think ahead of time about how this global challenge, the pandemic COVID-19 will affect our economy, our school systems, etc. This epidemic virus will have major changes., considerably more than immigration changes, economic problems, etc.

Diana


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 14, 2020 at 10:35 pm

We are living in a new normal that is changing from week to week. It started mid March and it is changing over the weeks in little drips and now we have a lake. But not all is bad. Some of the things in our new normal should be retained into a new normal in the future.

We have time to sit in our backyards, enjoy the birds, the squirrels, our new furniture and some of the plants we have been growing, some to eat and some to beautify. Let's keep up the work and enjoy what has been sitting behind our homes and have not had enough time to enjoy.

We have time to sit together and eat together. We have learned to cook new things and all eat at the same time, enjoy each other's company without someone having to run off to be somewhere and nobody home late due to being stuck in traffic. Let's keep the family meal times when we can eat what we have put effort in preparing together and taking turns to clean up.

We have time to sit and play board games, or play pingpong, or go for family walks or bike rides, to clean out the garage together, to be a family with family activities. Let's keep time together as family time.

We have time to walk around our neighborhood. We have come to realise that the house with the blue Tesla has a nice couple with a friendly dog, and the house with the best flowers has a family who also grow great tomatoes and other veg. We recognize our neighbors' faces, or at least their eyes, and they are no longer hidden. Let's keep being neighborly.

Let's not get so busy that we are permanently tired through getting to be too late and rising too early. Let's find time to enjoy some of the more simple things of life. Let's not rush to get as much as we can squeeze into each day and cram into each week. Let's keep finding time for each other and for the things in life we have come to enjoy.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 9:35 am

Interesting how people can extrapolate the complete change of modern lifestyle driven by just a few months under government forced shelter-in-place. I agree that if we continue with government forced shutdown of businesses long term, things will change dramatically if for no other reason than many businesses will go bankrupt and very high unemployments will be the real "new normal" ( including people losing their jobs who are currently comfortably working from home and enjoying it). On the other hand, once government mandates cease, you can already see people are relatively quick to go back to old ways. That is why cases are currently going up ... SIP was never the answer to "beating" the virus... it is a delay tactic while waiting for a solution to appear. If no solution appears, it seems more likely that we go back to a more normal life and accept that like seasonal flu. this virus will be with us, mutate, and vulnerable people will remain the ones at risk. Fatality rate can be reduced with new treatment protocols such as Remdesivir.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 9:54 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

Dan,

Not if the reports are true that you can be reinfected with COVID 19.

There are reports coming that indicate that even with the previous antibodies, some patients are getting sick again. Here is one of them (Web Link)

and this one

(Web Link)

So it can be that this virus is the ultimate weapon against humanity. It will continue to disable and kill people until a REAL vaccine is discovered.

Or is the world going to allow itself to go into possible extinction simply because of a simple piece of metal or paper representing commerce?

IDK


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Dan, a resident of Midtown,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 10:54 am

If you can get re-infected which seems quite likely , all the more reason why attempting to hide from the virus won't be the long term answer and we'd just have to live with the incremental risk rather than completely up-ending our lives. I fail to see how a virus with < 2-3% fatality rate for the general population (and much less for younger people who propagate the species) could lead to "extinction"... that statement seems like complete hyperbole. I bet some people also thought the sky was falling after the 1918 pandemic.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:06 am

I saw a discussion in somewhere else about the future office that was a little discouraging to me. Because, it seems to be literally unthinkable to architects to go back to individual offices with individual filtered air. And, the reason seems to be aesthetic-- the word "open" just -sounds- better, I guess, even if data show that people are healthier, happier, and more productive with private offices.

So, I can't "predict" what the future office will look like, but, what it -should- look like is a future where everyone that can be in a private office is in a private office. Believe it or not, there were lots and lots of private offices only 30 years ago. I would like to believe that in the future there will be lots and lots of private offices.

Likewise, clean, filtered air should be re-thought for other aspects of office design-- like elevators. And in transportation, like Caltrain cars and other public transportation.

"Touch" needs to be re-thought also. Too many touch-screens and common touch-pads in commerce-- these should just go away. You should be able to authenticate yourself by safely touching only your own device.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Gal, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:31 am

Diana - I've been doing grocery store shopping and most errands with my bike for the last 20 yrs.+. I recall being one of the few bikes seen in Menlo Park. So please encourage people to do the same. Not say you can't because you most certainly can. I'm 66 now and have no intentions of quitting Using my bike for shopping anytime soon. Plus, I can always get a “parking spot" right at the front door of the store too.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 1:30 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

This situation is getting worse by the day:

Let's address the Moderna vaccine story. It was a test on 45 healthy people and they suffered a variety of symptoms after receiving the vaccine. Yes there is an “antibody" response but the report shows they never were exposed to COVID. Thus they are not PROVEN to be immune to COVID. The report is in many ways misleading by the methodology and the results.

Next, the CDC is now being bypassed regarding the COVID data and treatment by the White House. This means that a political office, the Health and Human Services will distribute information it sees fit. This is VERY concerning because the evidence of the current surge in infections shows no signs of reduction.

Next, the marketing of PHRMA to claim it is making progress on COVID where there is NO EVIDENCE of this actually happening is scary. There is NO medication that actually is designed to address COVID, people are just trying out and using medicines that are only thought to be effective, but no proof of effectivity has been produced.

Finally, the idea that Business and the Government is acting on wishful or best case information and not addressing the worst case means we are all at risk. There has been no scientific proof that we have an effective vaccine or medication that actually DOES treat COVID. WHY?

Because the “RULING CLASS" of the country is terrified with the idea that if the people realize how dangerous and out of control the COVID is the increased risk of loss of their CONTROL over the people will be. Imagine if all the people realize that these systems are all failing them? The people will revolt in such a number that the Business and Governments will collapse.

This is why you have so many people trying to attack anyone demonstrating that the situation is NOT improving, it is in fact getting WORSE.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by The Oblivion Express, a resident of another community,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 4:04 pm

In response to the opening question...

I suspect that many people will become 'germophobes' to a certain extent with more attention paid to the cleaniness of surfaces & surroundings.

At one time, germophobes were considered kind of 'whacko' (neurotic) but today it has become the new norm due to the Covid-2 aka Covid-19 pandemic.

Celebrity germophobes like Howie Mandel and others were ahead of their time.

Lastly, the pandemic and it's wake will probably create fiscal opportunities for personal injury attorneys and the like (aka opportunistic parasites).


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Al Ward, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Al Ward is a registered user.

What if we presume that President Trump gets re-elected? What then?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Trish, a resident of University South,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 7:13 pm

What if...? URGH!!!!!!!


 +   3 people like this
Posted by The Oblivion Express, a resident of another community,
on Jul 15, 2020 at 11:03 pm

>"What if we presume that President Trump gets re-elected? What then?"

^ He will continue with his blueprint for America...adding
& subtracting key personnel as needed.

According to his son Eric, the Covid-19 pandemic will end immediately following the November 3rd election so things should be looking up in terms of an eventual return to everyday life.

Or so it's been said.



 +   2 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Jul 17, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Apparently, the new normal is to be afraid of everything, ignore data, and not to consider the context of overall risk.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 17, 2020 at 5:03 pm

Posted by Anon, a resident of Charleston Meadows,

>> Apparently, the new normal is to be afraid of everything, ignore data, and not to consider the context of overall risk.

You haven't provided enough context other than the supplied "Covid-19", for others to understand clearly what your point is. But, if you think that being afraid of a deadly virus is to be "afraid of everything", then, you haven't done your homework.

So far, NYC has suffered 217,562 COVID-19 cases, 55,653 Hospitalizations,
18,758 "Deaths following a positive COVID-19 laboratory test", and an additional 4,619 "Probable deaths- Cause of death reported as "COVID-19" or equivalent, but no positive laboratory test" That is a lot of excess deaths, with the majority in that disastrous April, (some in March, more in May, and, still ongoing, of course). -Of course-, you never know about a single individual, but, statistically, the YLL - the years of life lost, were very large. I guess 70 isn't the new 60 after all. In the context of overall risk, COVID-19 was and is a major risk. Web Link

We haven't hit that level in the Bay Area. Some luck, some fast(er) reaction from our smart public health officials, who are, in effect, being criticized constantly for being too cautious because we didn't do "New York". Yet.

In the context of overall risk -- we are *over*due paying a lot of attention to microbial transmission in our daily lives -- offices, elevators, public transportation, stores, churches, concerts and large gatherings, etc.

The last decades have seen a big push towards trying to make (over)crowding "normal". Time for the pendulum to swing back in the other direction.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 17, 2020 at 5:15 pm

The new normal is that the generation growing up through the schools now will be prevented from normal development along social lines. Such cues as body language, appropriate and inappropriate touching (high fives, hand shakes, hugging grandparents, etc.) will be unknown so mistakes will be made. Social skills such as sharing, taking turns, will not be learned. Independence, risk taking, speaking in public, sport, drama, music, in group activities, will not be developed.

Are we going to have this generation as the first to undergo a social experiment to see how to curtail normal socialization skills? Will they become selfish, dependent, self-centered, inability to act in normal circles, lacking in personality among other things.

Will they also be depressed, miserable, prone to anger, lethargic, and sadly nobody will spot it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 17, 2020 at 8:08 pm

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,

>> The new normal is that the generation growing up through the schools now will be prevented from normal development along social lines. Such cues as body language, appropriate and inappropriate touching (high fives, hand shakes, hugging grandparents, etc.) will be unknown so mistakes will be made.

How can you be so sure that high-fives and hugging non-family-members are so essential? All that extra touching didn't exist when and where I grew up. In many cultures, bowing from a short distance is the standard greeting instead of shaking hands. How can you be so certain that shaking hands is better for psychological development than bowing?

>> Social skills such as sharing, taking turns, will not be learned. Independence, risk taking, speaking in public, sport, drama, music, in group activities, will not be developed.

In some ways, kids today are getting the social side of homeschooling. How much difficulty have homeschooled kids had in the past with these things? Homeschool parents claim that their kids are better at most of these things.

I'm more concerned about subjects that are too difficult to learn via books. Languages, math, chemistry, music. Other subjects that can easily be learned via reading should be just fine.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by The Oblivion Express, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm

> "In many cultures, bowing from a short distance is the standard greeting instead of shaking hands."

^ I imagine the French greeting consisting of a peck on each cheek is on its way out along with the 'kiss of death' by mobsters.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 19, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Interestingly, a firm handshake is very different from a bow, hand bump, high five or a peck on the cheek because it encourages eye contact. The other types of greets make you look at your feet, or your hands/elbows, or over the shoulder. The important contact is not the skin but the eyes. If you can't look in the eye of someone you are meeting, then it feels very uncomfortable and if someone does not make eye contact with you then it causes mistrust.

The history goes back to showing that your right hand is empty and does not contain anything such as a sword or dagger. A handshake that involves two hands adds to the empty hand signal particularly. Looking at someone in the eye is also a signal of equality and friendship, there is no shame as it is hard to look someone in the eye if you are trying to hoodwink them, unless of course you are a conman.

I would suggest that it is better to nod with a smile and look someone in the eye rather than anything that means you look at your feet or where your elbow might touch.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by The Oblivion Express, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 8:56 am

@ Anon & Resident...

Will the 'new normal' also have an impact on intimate relations (i.e. safe-distancing precautionary measures and the wearing of face masks)?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 9:40 am

@Oblivion

I am hearing about dating in the lockdown. After four months, those who are single are ready to date, but wary. More online first dates, social distancing coffees and meeting in parks with bring your own chair and when it gets to the stage of bringing food to share it is now "serious relationship" status.

How people are meeting dates mean that the online dating sites must be doing very well.

Lots of articles online about how to go from dating to intimate relationship safely. Not something I have been interested enough to read, but journalists are doing whatever it takes to make a living too!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by The Oblivion Express, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jul 20, 2020 at 12:17 pm

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