As the Covid-19 virus continues to spread its lethal effects across the world and at the time of writing this piece there have been nearly 10 million cases confirmed and close to half a million deaths.
Rich or poor we are all affected and just five countries account for almost 60 per cent of recorded deaths and three of them are in rich northern Europe. One thing for sure, we have yet to experience the full impact of this virus.
So, what can we expect to happen now that we are coming up for the end of eight months of the Covid-19 viral outbreak? As ever there will be winners and losers and below I’ve considered the impact on technology, property, the environment, health and entertainment and travel.
Starting with technology we have this year witnessed what some would call a revolution when it comes to our lives online. Thousands no longer work in offices as they now are more productive working from home. We are also shopping online like never before and in the UK, we now have over one third of our spending now online up from 20pc before the pandemic. Unfortunately, the pandemic will disproportionally affect the poorest in most countries with the gap between the haves and the have nots growing with increasing unemployment adding further misery.
With more people working from home, our glass towers that stand proud in cities across the world will increasingly be symbols of the past with many of them lucky to be half full. As the need to work in cities declines, those who work from home will probably consider moving out of the cities to enjoy cheaper homes in safer environments and more at one with nature.
In recent weeks, we have seen major reductions in environmental pollution due to the fall in our activity. Everyone, especially those who live in cities, really appreciates this less polluted planet and it is not only us and much of the wildlife around us are thriving on land, air, rivers and sea.
Less polluting renewable electricity will flourish with big growth in wind, wave and solar power expected with further declines in demand for fossil fuels. Let’s not forget the move away from the internal combustion engine with battery powered cars becoming the preferred way of travelling by car.
Having been exposed to the full impact of a global viral pandemic, we are going to see a big change in the way our politicians act. They now know they were caught with their pants down this time and when the next global virus hits, their level of preparedness must be appropriate. They simply will not be allowed to act in the unprofessional way they have during this pandemic. I hope we will have in place professional bodies who are funded to do what is right for us all and not the fragmented approach by country we have witnessed this time around. Additionally, we are all now more aware of the risks we are taking by eating processed foods and not exercising. I believe we will all take care of ourselves much better in the future.
Finally, travel and entertainment will be different. We will have fewer planes criss-crossing the world taking us on holiday as more of us will enjoy holidays at home. Already holiday enquiries are rising for holidays at home and demand for cruise and package holidays are in decline. Also don’t forget that Zoom and others will make business travel unnecessary. I worry for live events such as concerts, theatre, sport and many cultural events in the short term. Once we get used to our new normal, we will again have the confidence to enjoy going to theatres and sports stadiums.
Our world will be different and thankfully more sustainable. One big change will be all of us learning to appreciate the value of wearing masks and proper hygiene.
Gordon is the former president and chief
executive of BMMI. He can be reached at [email protected]