Recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the respiratory disease COVID-19 may never go away, and just like HIV, it may become endemic.
The Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Michael Ryan said to reporters, “I think it is important we are realistic and I don't think anyone can predict when or if this virus will disappear.”
Ryan also stressed the point that the world may have a shot at eliminating this virus but only when a vaccine is developed and "is made available to everyone".
But, since a vaccination is still far away, the world would need to continuously use another major weapon- that of social distancing- to fight this pandemic.
According to a study by the researchers of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, social distancing might need to be followed till 2022.
A Harvard team's computer simulation shows that COVID-19 will become seasonal, like closely related coronaviruses that cause the common cold, and the disease will have higher transmission rates in colder months. Indeed, then, as some researchers are saying- living with the coronavirus will become the new normal.
If coronavirus remains undefeated for a long time, the world will see a drastic change in its way of leading the day-to-day lives. As a society, we will have to learn to live with this virus. People we will have to follow social distancing norms very strictly, and accept the fact that life will not be the same now, not until a vaccination is found and dispersed in society.
There might be no more outings to the malls, cinema halls, and other crowded places. Even when such public places resume operation, they will not operate the way they used to. The concept of going out for meals may also witness a change, with restaurants changing the way they run. Every little thing that you can think of may now not be the same.
It is actually safe to say that student life has already changed. Pupils are now taking online classes; and the concept may become the new normal for students because of all the uncertainty around. But, everyone might not be able to catch up to this new normal. A big chunk of the population, particularly in the developing world, lacks access to computers and the internet. How will then all schools and students come around such a concept is yet to be seen.
Corporate offices will have to take steps forward to keep their employees safe. To maintain social distancing, office meetings will be conducted through video calling apps such as Skype, Google Duo, Google Meet, etc, as has already become the norm due to the global lockdown. Some leading Indian IT companies are already exploring Work-From-Home as a long term option.
There is not one industry that is not impacted by the novel coronavirus. It is said that the pandemic will also change the transportation industry and how people travel. When taking flights, passing through a thermal scanner and health screening could become the new norms. On the other hand, we could also witness a huge fall in crowd travelling from public transports like bus, trains, cabs, and metros. New rules will be introduced for cab riders and cab drivers. Cab sharing could be prohibited to avoid the spread of disease, and to help maintain social distancing.