A NEW WORLD COMES (a COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic story): What might be the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis?

4 min read

We are in the midst of a time-shift

We face a real but controllable crisis — a disease with very high infectiousness but moderate to low death rate (so long as hospitals and ventilator supplies hold out).

While in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis Time-Shift, many speculate: What might be the longer-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis?

We will come out of our ‘shelter-in-place,’ soon. How we use the physical world will change. I’ve been searching for predictions and here is what I’ve found.


As with a telescope bringing a distant star into focus, Big Data models tell us that COVID-19 is a pandemic and may well infect a majority of the human race in the coming years. Many do not wish to believe this or mis-appreciate the time horizon (China in December 2019 is where Korea was in February 2020 and the USA is in March 2020).

We must see the world in new ways

For you Quants out there (focused on numbers and mathematical models) or anyone who has taken algebra, we must substitute for one of the variables to ‘solve’ the problem (make a prediction). David Spiegelhalter of the Winton Centre at the University of Cambridge has done just that by rendering the risk in the variable of TIME.

…COVID-19 very roughly contributes a year’s worth of risk. There is a simple reality check on this figure. Every year around 600,000 people die in the UK. The Imperial College team estimates that if the virus went completely unchallenged, around 80% of people would be infected and there would be around 510,000 deaths. How much normal ‘risk’ does covid represent

At the same time, this data seen through the microscope of personal stories can indeed be shockingly frightening. The world knows the story of Li Wenliang (Chinese: 李文亮; 12 October 1986–7 February 2020) who was a whistleblower that returned to work, later contracted the virus and died from the disease on 7 February 2020, aged 33. Wikipedia

Dr. Li Wenliang by Racket Friday Media

The fear of what lives in this new ‘microscope’ delivered by smartphone makes us afraid. If we can survive this emotional-empathy-driven storm and rediscover our dispassionate reason, then the world will be a better place.

“When people are afraid, there is little anyone can do to convince them they are safe…many people simply don’t hear facts when they are afraid.” Doug Levy in Communicating about coronavirus: Lessons from Ebola and other emergencies

Our Digital Culture “has extended our central nervous system itself into a global embrace [and] Emotional empathy has replaced cognitive empathy and we wear all humankind as our skin.SAFE HAVEN (a COVID-19 Pandemic Story to Combat Fear) We can combat this fear by switching from a reactive to a proactive society.


We will come out of our ‘shelter-in-place,’ soon. While the physical world may look much as it did before the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, how we use that physical world will change. I’ve been searching for predictions and here is what I’ve found.


Two prominent scientists recently recommended in The New York Times, to five regulations that they say should be suspended/adjusted during the coronavirus response. Doing so, they argue, will give us more capacity to fight the virus. To Fight the Coronavirus, Cut the Red Tape The New York Times

  1. Treat medical licenses like driver’s licenses; that is, allow them to cross state lines.
  2. Temporarily ban any coronavirus related malpractice lawsuits.
  3. Pause patents: “Patents should be briefly suspended for the production of anything deemed necessary to fight this virus.”
  4. Pause privacy too: For example, use smartphone data to track users in order to identify “probable contacts” of someone who gets sick.
  5. Listen: “Open up sites to request comments not on new regulations, but on existing ones that are limiting our ability to fight the virus. Let people on the front lines report the regulations that are hindering them.”

Many of these suggestions will still be reasonable after the COVID-19 crisis ends. Consider this great list of ten COVID-19 inspired set-aside regulations by Reason Magazine.


Once the U.S. has rapid, effective and plentiful COVID-19 tests (as we should and could have had, two months ago) then why not let companies re-open some factories etc., putting back to work employees who have already gone through their exposure to the virus and the following latency period, whether symptomatic or not? David Brin

So eventually there will be this digital immunity proof that will help facilitate the global reopening up.

**Bill Gates quoted in Off-Guardian from a March 24 TED interview.

Eventually, some restaurants might even bring in Covid-positive staff to serve an only-Covid-positive clientele — all confirmed by smartphone profile.

Companies might wind up having pairs of offices or twin plants engaged in friendly rivalry, like those in that commercial, that produce the left vs. right halves of Twix bars….Or else trade-off and pick-a-side? Envision Disneyland open for positives and Universal for negatives? LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE by David Brin

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, organizations are implementing unprecedented shifts in how they work. The companies and employees that are adaptable, resilient, and supportive of one another in the face of uncertainty will win. We will all learn the benefits of working remotely or with distributed colleagues and clients. Remote Work Nudges from Humu

Business meeting-ware and work-from-home software has been predicted for decades and languished due to managerial reluctance. These will advance rapidly along with a real estate boomlet in small scale satellite offices, where employees will spend at least part of each day being personally supervised, so their work-at-home hours can be kept effective. Where might this all lead? Unexpected options and outcomes… and some solace by David Brin


We will switch from a reactive to a proactive society driven by behavioral sciences delivered by smartphones.

Our Digital Culture “has extended our central nervous system itself into a global embrace [and] Emotional empathy has replaced cognitive empathy and we wear all humankind as our skin.SAFE HAVEN (a COVID-19 Pandemic Story to Combat Fear)

The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic requires a response focused on our behavior — including our handwashing habits, panic buying, and our ability to (or lack thereof) to social distance. There are also the social and economic implications of banning travel, closing schools/restaurants, working from home (if that’s an option), and the deaths that will come.

These tools will find new uses after the pandemic ends. I suggest you read up on what’s coming.

The Behavioral Scientist curates articles that help shed light on the behavioral features of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wayne Boatwright Wayne Boatwright is a business and legal professional who recently completed a 7-year stint in San Quentin. Wayne has more than 20 years' experience helping organizations succeed through smarter management of complex processes, information, and relationships. His “superpower” is uncovering and understanding what organizations need to grow and thrive, and then developing systems, communications, and processes that help them move the ball forward for their constituents. Wayne's writings focus on framing the digital realm as a Unified Field and breaking the hold of linear sequential reasoning is no longer sufficient in our digital age. *No you won’t find this in a Wikipedia search. We are traversing new ground here.

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