With summer’s warm and sunny weather returning, festival openings one after another, and major sports events taking place for the first time in more than two years, I really have the impression that I live in a post-COVID era. Air traffic with trans-continental flights is returning en masse in the sky over my house. Gone are masks and COVID-19 tests mandates; gone are restrictions in public places. People have a smile on their faces, not a mask. I really have this feeling of returning to some form of normalcy.
In a recent friends gathering, if the conversations were any indications, it was clear to me that COVID-19 left profound marks on the collective mindset and caused what looks to be irreversible changes to our society. There is a fracture point: before COVID-19 and after COVID-19. It’s the new reference point, just like 9/11 was and still is. We are still learning a lot about what the pandemic left behind. We don’t understand most of the changes that came with COVID-19, and I suspect the post-pandemic world will offer a plethora of research subjects to explore in the coming decades. As an example, consider a small business like local stores or restaurants: they are feeling a lack of personnel. All small businesses are fighting for them. Those businesses are all crying to get back their staff at pre-COVID levels.
Moreover, I feel more scarcity than before in all sorts of domains beyond people: from what’s not available on the restaurant menu to what will take months to get, like an Apple MacBook or even an apartment for rent. As you might expect, prices of goods are on the rise. Yet, remember when many economists were saying that it would take years to recover from the economic crash created by COVID-19? Instead, it appears it was temporary, and everything is running on all cylinders, like living our lives. We are making up for the lost opportunities and doubling down on many things. I'm not sure if it's good or bad, but we can definitively feel the heat.
On a final note, I’m excited about my next trip to Europe in August without having to bother about COVID-19 regulations and to prepare for restrictions to follow. What a good riddance. It will be a trip like I used to do them.
PS. Yes, I’m aware that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, again, but… shuuuuuuuut, don’t break my illusions.