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How will coronavirus change the world? Show more Show less
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COVID-19 has torn through the fabric of our lives all over the world - with over 20M cases and nearly 1M deaths, and a global collapse in GDP that is historically unprecedented. Will it have long term impact, and what will that look like - economically, politically, and socially?

Coronavirus will impact our societies Show more Show less

On a macro level, coronavirus may have significant social effects.
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Coronavirus means the end of the social kiss or handshake

Social distancing measures will create a psychological change in how people read personal space. Social greetings will cease to exist as they once did.

The Argument

In the wake of Covid-19, established social etiquettes around the world have dramatically changed and this change is bound to be a permanent one. Maintaining 6 feet of distance at all times, wearing a mask in public, and standing in designated areas in public places have all become the new normal. This sudden and extended social change has struck a string of permanence in a frightened population and it is would mean the end to how we once interacted. Already as parks, museums and critical businesses are beginning to reopen under phase 1, there are strict social distancing rules and mandatory protective measures being implemented; proving that the once social kiss or handshake could be a thing of the past. Following the aftermath of COVID-19, society might conclude that social distancing and changes in social interactions would lead to a decline in the transmission of all diseases, and it would be better to eliminate close-contact social greetings such as a kiss or handshake. Currently, around 86% [1] of all Americans support lockdown and social distancing methods until there is a significant decline in COVID cases. Most officials predict that this decline will only be made possible following the invention of a vaccine, which is at least 12-18 months [2] away from widespread availability. In the span of this prolonged period, society might notice a significant downtick in the spread of the seasonal flu, cold, and other diseases. This could lead people to question the necessity behind close-contact social greetings and propose the complete elimination of them. This incoming change is most prominently evidenced by the media. In recent TV shows, actors have been shown sitting farther apart from colleagues and practicing more nuanced forms of greeting. As parks and restaurants reopen, they have marked discrete seating boundaries. This can psychologically change people and lead them to form larger personal spaces or bubbles. This might render the contact established through a social kiss or handshake seem intrusive.

Counter arguments

A pandemic of any global proportion, lasting however many years, is not sufficient enough to change centuries and in some cases, millenniums worth of social interactions. Even if there is a significant decrease in the number of illnesses among people, complete avoidance of tactile contact can be psychologically painful. Almost all people around the globe are waiting to return to their way of life before COVID-19 struck. Simple signs in parks or social distancing measures are not enough to prevent people from greeting each other as they did in the past. Now, this is not to say that, in general, people will be more mindful about social courtesies such as covering their sneezes or being more cautious about going to work when they are sick. Society will also take additional sanitary methods to preserve health and wellness. However, it is highly unlikely that they will abandon all social forms of greetings that they were using just six or so months ago.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/poll-most-americans-support-coronavirus-social-distancing-measures-2020-4.html
  2. https://www.statnews.com/2020/06/01/anthony-fauci-on-covid-19-reopenings-vaccines-and-moving-at-warp-speed/.html
This page was last edited on Friday, 28 Aug 2020 at 09:24 UTC

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