Epidemiologist predicts a Roaring ‘20s response in America post-pandemic, but there’s a catch
The US was able to experience a roar of the 20s again after recovering from the coronavirus pandemic
Lockdown measures, rising deaths, and the fear of spreading Covid-19-isolated Americans for much of 2020 - affect people economically, socially, and psychologically.
In response to the pandemic, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, professor and social epidemiologist at Yale University, in his latest book, Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Effects of Coronavirus on the Way We Live, Predicted an American Response to the 20s.
This prediction was based on human response to previous epidemics throughout history, including events following the 1918 Spanish flu.
"Historically, in times of the plague, people become more religious, they become more celibate and risk averse, they stop spending their money, and they avoid social interaction," said Dr. Christakis to The Independent. "And we see all of these things in the United States in the 21st century."
Then the human response typically reverses after people have recovered from "the biological, epidemiological, psychological, clinical, social and economic effects," he said.
"People won't be so religious anymore," he continued. “People will relentlessly seek out social interactions such as nightclubs, bars, restaurants, sporting events, and political parties. We could see sexual self-indulgence. "Everyone will be spending more" generously "again - behaviors that were all seen in society in the 1920s.
The catch? Dr. Christakis did not expect this recovery and response until early 2024.
"Nothing will be sudden," he said. "There's this fantasy some people have that the vaccine will stop everything. It's not true."
The distribution of vaccines has only just begun in the US and around the world. Due to the lack of currently available doses, most Americans probably won't see a coronavirus vaccine until April, May, or June 2021 - if they want to take the vaccine at all. But even after the vaccine is offered to much of the public, the novel virus will continue to infect and kill people for a period of time.
While this may not be the news everyone wants to hear, Dr. Christakis that the plague will end - either through natural immunity or through the artificial immunity obtained from the Covid-19 vaccine. But a majority of the public would need it for the country to develop herd immunity to the novel virus.
Until that threshold was reached, Americans had to continue to respond to the novel virus by wearing masks and social distancing until 2021.
"Then the epidemiological impact of the virus will be behind us," said Dr. Christakis, "but we have yet to recover from the social, psychological and economic effects. If you look at the history of the plague, it usually takes another year." or two."
This led to his assessment of a full recovery by late 2023 or early 2024.
In addition to increased economic and social behavior in the coming years, there could also be an increase in birth rates after the pandemic, as was observed in society after other crises such as natural disasters. "I would describe the pandemic as accelerating the relationship," said Dr. Christakis. "Good relationships get better and bad relationships get worse."
But not all aspects of society could likely go back to what it was before the pandemic based on how humanity has changed after the past epidemics.
For example, Dr. Christakis that the Spanish flu was widespread in America before 1918, including restaurants and bars that provided spittoons for customers. "But during the respiratory pandemic, spitting was rightly viewed as very unsanitary," he said, adding that the behavior stopped and never returned.
"This could happen when you shake hands, for example," he said. “Shaking hands is a normal part of our culture, but other cultures greet each other without touching. As a result, handshakes may be much less common. "
Restricted business travel and work from home could also be more common, as some workers have shown that they are able to do their work from the comfort of their home.
Dr. Christakis also predicted that "decades of advances in women's participation could be reversed," based on how current households respond to this virus. This prediction is based on the knowledge that the majority of families are still heterosexual couples and that men earn more than their female partners “about 75 percent of the time”.
"In our society right now, there are millions of couples with young children just sitting at their kitchen table and watching what's going on," he said.
Millions of Americans are unemployed and businesses are closing every day because of the novel virus. Given this current reality, couples could decide that the men in their household go back to work after the pandemic, while more women stay at home with their children.
"Five years from now, we may be looking at all of these gender employment issues and they're going to change because of the virus," said Dr. Christakis. "We may find that with all the gains in women's compensation versus men, gender equality, and occupation distribution, we've taken a step back."
Economic and social recovery was expected, though not as early as people might want after the novel virus's immediate epidemiological numbers end. But Dr. Christakis pleaded with people not to lose sight of what it would take to make this recovery.
"People need to understand whether the existence of the vaccine should make us redouble our behavioral efforts as there is a light at the end of the tunnel," he said. “This virus is a one-time event. It's the second worst epidemic in 100 years. It will end up killing at least half a million Americans. That's incredible."
"The plagues always end," he added. "We are fortunate to be the first generation of people alive at a time when we can invent a specific countermeasure in real time, namely a vaccine. This should increase the motive for behavior."
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