Changes likely to emerge in a 'post-COVID-19 world'

By Eugene Clark
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 22, 2020
Adjust font size:
Photo taken on March 20, 2020 shows staff working at a drive-through coronavirus clinic at the Exhibition Park in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Chu Chen/Xinhua)

When the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, there are many areas of life that need to reassessed and adjusted.

It seems clear that our world "after" the COVID-19 pandemic will not be the same as it is now.  Here is my list of some of the changes likely to emerge.

Home as a refuge. Families will increasingly realize the need to be better prepared for future emergencies. This will likely result in home back-up systems: bigger storage of canned goods, toilet paper, batteries, first-aid kits, etc. More entertainment is likely to take place in the home as opposed to going out. 

That is not all bad. Instead of going out to a movie or the shopping mall, families might stay home, cook a meal, play board games, clear out the clutter, read a book, or learn a new skill – talk more to each other! All of this will lead to changed concepts of "home" and new designs and household goods that better fit such new and smaller group constructs.

Changing customs and social mores. People will be more conscientious about health and hygiene in all contexts – home, work, transport, etc. They will be more conscious of covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing. If they are sick they will stay home rather than struggling into work. They will wash hands more often and more seriously, and cast doubt on the custom of children blowing out candles on birthday cakes. Again, airlines, public transport, restaurants and other big group space activities will have to win public trust that every reasonable precaution has been taken to protect public health and safety.

Business winners and losers. The virus will produce winners and losers in the business world. More people will be ordering online, working from home, getting their food delivered or relying on takeaway meals. Sports, entertainment and other industries whose models depend upon large crowds will be negatively impacted. The tourism industry (airlines, cruise ships, trains, etc) will see usage decline. They will have to act to restore confidence that measures have been taken to ensure they are safe and clean.  

Supply chains will have to be strengthened and diversified so that they are less likely to fail if there is an outbreak of viral disease in a particular geographic region. Conferences, trade shows and other large group activities will have to look increasingly to virtual equivalents as well as take steps to offer greater protection to large groups attending these events. There will also be business innovations to cope with new realities, for example in service delivery.

Focus on preventive health and e-health. More people will be concerned about and proactive in adopting healthier eating habits in order to strengthen their immune system. Western doctors will learn more about nutrition and the role it plays in keeping people healthy and more resistant to disease. The use of e-health, which was already growing rapidly, will gather further momentum in every area of health activity. This development is crucial especially in societies struggling to cope with an increasing elderly population.

Strengthening of communities. The virus has seen a resurgence of local communities and small groups, both personal and digital. While there has been some bad behavior, such as hoarding, price gouging, false media reports, it is wonderful to see the many volunteers aiding the most vulnerable segments of the population. Much gratitude is also extended to the dedicated health workers, political leaders, police officers and other public servants who have worked tirelessly in coping with this crisis.

Focus on community/public health. Governments will be increasingly focused on improving our public and community health systems. There will be a re-think on our approach to national pandemic-type emergencies. Given that a virus so easily crosses borders, nations will have to cooperate more in sharing data, conducting joint research, etc. Governments and media will also have to improve the accuracy and effectiveness in communicating with the public in order to direct and promote appropriate behavior, minimize risks and avoid panic. 

Border protection will also receive greater attention. The foundation of making these improvements will require a greater convergence of almost all research fields relevant to public health: genetics, information technology, biology, social science, psychology, communication, logistics, governance, engineering, design, etc.

Public-private sector partnerships. Dealing with a major outbreak such as COVID-19 requires the efforts of all parts of society. This includes efforts by private sector working in close partnership with governments in helping rebuild the world economy.

Law and public policy reform. The lessons from this pandemic will also lead to law and policy reforms. Governments will need greater powers in some areas and clarification in others. Better communication protocols will have to be developed. Unnecessary red tape and layers of bureaucracy will have to be trimmed and/or removed. 

Provisions in insurance and other contracts will have to be reviewed and new legal products developed. Employers will need answers to many legal questions relating to areas such as checks on employees, protection of older workers, working from home provisions and protection of workers. Questions about liability, risk, assessment of damages and related issues will have to be addressed.  

Life is fragile and precious. Every moment matters. When faced with the levels of anxiety currently seen, we should also realize that, while we may not always be able to control what happens to us, we can control our reactions to it. We should remain calm, focus on what we can do, and hold steadfast in the belief that if we work smart and hard, and in cooperation with others, we can make a positive difference in the world both now and for future generations. 

Eugene Clark is a columnist with For more information please visit:

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of

If you would like to contribute, please contact us at

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from