5 questions for the post-coronavirus era

The coronavirus era has brought more questions than answers thus far. One thing is certain, though. Life is changing. If you expect to pick up where you left off in May, June or July, you may be sorely surprised.

America is turning a corner in a course-correction that has been coming for quite some time. Disease, quarantine, politics and trillions of dollars from an already-broke government will force changes. Geopolitics and international relations were on the brink pre-coronavirus. Those are likely to be completely re-shaped over the next months and years.

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While the answers are fluid, here are a few questions (with attempts at some answers) that Americans, businesses and churches will face on the other side of coronavirus.

  1. What jobs will see increases after coronavirus?

Amazon, work-from-home companies and online ordering will be the big winners once the dust settles. Brick and mortar was already struggling and crumbling. This outbreak may be the death knell for those stores and companies teetering on the brink of collapse (think JC Penneys, Kohl’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Office Depot, Macy’s). The .com business skyrocketed in the 90s. Now, we’ll likely see telecommunications take off. Online churches, telenurse/teledoc and online ordering/delivery/takeout are at all-time highs and won’t drop back to previous levels.

This may be a good time to look into some online training to prepare for the post-coronavirus era. Learn a new trade, craft or skill.

2. How will this global event change politics and the way we communicate?

Well, that’s a good question. We need an Apollo 13 moment or Iraq War snapshot in time that brings the country together and leave behind those bastions that refuse to let go of the old, beat-’em-up politics and drown-you-out squabbles and bickering.

Hopefully, the public discourse will improve for the good of the country and the polarization that has been growing for the past 3-4 decades will cease or diminish greatly. We have seen some pockets of improvement already as people try to talk and work across barriers.

It’s certainly an opportunity for statesmen and men and women of reason to step forward and demand that politicians, church leaders and others lower the decibel level of the rhetoric and conversation. It would be nice to have a conversation about race, politics, religion and sex without being demeaned, called racist or personally verbally assaulted.

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3. Sports is a huge part of the economy and of Americana in general. How will they bounce back?

Sports continued during World War II and baseball came back almost on-demand after 9/11. Baseball, in fact, continued just weeks after Pearl Harbor despite the fact that many players joined the war effort. Baseball also bounced back quickly after 9/11, becoming a harbinger of American resilience after the twin tower bombings. Remember President Bush throwing out the first pitch at the first game after 9/11?

Major League Baseball, NASCAR and the NFL should bounce back quickly, depending on the timing of the end of the coronavirus event. People will want a distraction and they will need to be entertained, and sports provides a semblance of a return to normalcy. Not to mention a getaway from the tensions and the pressures of today’s events.

4. What paradigm shifts should we expect?

World politics will likely be transformed. Whether it’s through a NATO-like organization that came about after WWII or some other alliances, there will be a shuffle amongst countries seeking to re-position themselves after this global event.

Plenty of governments are ticked at China at its handling of the coronavirus onset. Still, China will be a major global player with much bargaining power and plenty of weapons to swing at the U.S., U.K., Japan, Australia and others seeking to lessen its influence.

It is quite unpredictable, but the alignment of nations will be one of the key developments over the next year. Watch it closely.

5. How quickly will the economy bounce back?

That’s the $64,000 question. Or perhaps more like the $64 trillion question.

It’s growing more clear by the day that, despite efforts to build a fiscal bridge to the post-coronavirus era, the way we do business will change, perhaps dramatically. Some businesses have already shuttered their doors and won’t return. Others will see the handwriting on the wall soon. Still other brick-and-mortar companies (see above) who were grappling with life pre-coronavirus will find it difficult to bounce back.

The administration was eager to re-open the market by Easter, in part because economic advisors fear a long shutdown will cripple business and perpetuate a possible recession, or even depression.

Pastor John Bosman told me recently that “…There is most likely going to be a larger fallout in the financial world than the medical.” That’s a particular question we will try to cover with him in the near future.

There will be many more questions ahead. My advice, however, is to not get comfortable. Expect, anticipate and prepare.

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