The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

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gad-fly
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The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

A Normal (Condition) is acceptable (though not necessarily accepted) by a majority of the public. One example is LGBTQ, which many of us would only tolerate. Like everything else, the list of Normal changes with time, though not as fast as fashion. Suffice to say that, with our increasingly tolerant society, more and more social members would be on the list. Opposite members can both be on the list, as in heterosexual and homosexual marriage, for example. Where there was one, now there are two. At the same time some, like slavery, has been dropped.

A New Normal is not dictated by fiat or decree. It is generated when demand for its establishment has reached the critical mass, at an unstoppable speed. The same can be said about its disappearance. We humans are social animals, and we are much more influenced by our fellow kind than what we have on how our Normal come and go.

Social-Distancing is an imminent New Normal, if not the primary. I am not about to dwell here on its lineage and protagonist, but I would rather focus on its lasting power and its shock wave in the immediate future. I believe it will last for a long while, if not permanently. Once the pandemic is gone, it will be moderated not by much, as the specified distance may be reduced from 2m to 1.5m, for example. Many of our transport and entertainment models will be impacted beyond recognizing. Would car pool still be on? Can our mass transit operating at 50% capacity still survive? If not, who will satisfy the enormous demand for subsidy? If airplane can only carry 50% capacity, will mass air travel be a thing of the past? Sport events, show business, conventions, trade fair, and so on. We should be psychologically prepared for the shock on almost all of our social activity. Or should anti-social also become our New Normal?
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Terrapin Station
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Terrapin Station »

Any pressure to be normal sucks.

What's much better is to be tolerant of things that aren't at all normal.

At any rate, I don't think that social distancing will remain common once people if and when people are no longer worrying about catching the virus (for example, if a vaccine can be developed).
gad-fly
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

I may not be clear enough when I invoke the term 'Normal'. Normal does not mean it will be necessarily agreed upon, let alone followed, by the majority. Take same sex marriage. It is not for most of us, and some may even feel uncomfortable at the thought, but it is found to be tolerable by the majority.

In the same manner, Social-Distancing may well be challenged and violated by the public even before the pandemic is over, but you can see it reflected as the New Normal when airplanes seat passengers at a good distance apart even as they reluctantly lower carriage capacity, in response to the public's vote with their health concern against that of their pocket. The same applies to mass transit. Would you still rush into a crowded bus with coughing behind you neck without second thought, and would that second thought not translated into a complaint which in turn would drive on the New Normal?
gad-fly
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

Terrapin Station wrote: July 2nd, 2020, 10:04 am Any pressure to be normal sucks.

What's much better is to be tolerant of things that aren't at all normal.

At any rate, I don't think that social distancing will remain common once people if and when people are no longer worrying about catching the virus (for example, if a vaccine can be developed).
Normal can be translated as toleration by the silent majority, but not by law. In this respect, nobody may apply pressure on you to conform. You do not have to be stressed even if you find that Normal not tolerable. Fine if you choose to be in the minority.
Steve3007
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Steve3007 »

gad-fly wrote:I believe it will last for a long while, if not permanently.
I disagree that it will become the new normal unless we turn into a different species. I don't think we're going to do that any time soon. We're social animals who need up-close personal contact.
gad-fly
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

Steve3007 wrote: July 11th, 2020, 9:01 am
gad-fly wrote:I believe it will last for a long while, if not permanently.
I disagree that it will become the new normal unless we turn into a different species. I don't think we're going to do that any time soon. We're social animals who need up-close personal contact.
Of course we are social animal. Complex Social Animal. Like most other animal, we feel safe with our own kind around, at the same time as we would feel threatened by anything getting too close. The latter has been defined as safe territory. Less social animal like the tiger may have territory of several miles against its own kind.

This thread is about us expanding our safe territory as a New Normal, after the issue of safe distance has been raised by the pandemic. The question is also on whether we can afford to with rapid increase in world population in the near future.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Alias »

Cholera epidemics came around with some regularity in many parts of the world, and there were several pandemic outbreaks, and people accepted - with more or less co-operation - the necessity for quarantine, or, if they were rich enough, moving to safer places for a while, but never became "normal".
World War Two lasted about five years; its aftermath changed social mores, behaviours and relations for another two. Yet, it never became normal. Through the entire ordeal, all the affected societies and individuals envisioned a normal that was quite different from what they were experiencing.
The bubonic plague was even longer, and nobody considered it normal.
Being hospitalized for protracted periods for mental illness or other conditions doesn't become normal. Even if the patient is fully compliant and accepts all the rules and routines of the institution, she remains at all times aware that this is an interruption of her life, rather than her actual life; that her personal normal is "out there". So does the convict serving time in prison.
One's attitude to the rules and conditions of avoiding a contagious disease are nothing like one's attitude to who gets married and who doesn't, and taking care not to infect one another is nothing like being antisocial.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

Alias wrote: July 11th, 2020, 10:33 pm Cholera epidemics came around with some regularity in many parts of the world, and there were several pandemic outbreaks, and people accepted - with more or less co-operation - the necessity for quarantine, or, if they were rich enough, moving to safer places for a while, but never became "normal".
World War Two lasted about five years; its aftermath changed social mores, behaviours and relations for another two. Yet, it never became normal. Through the entire ordeal, all the affected societies and individuals envisioned a normal that was quite different from what they were experiencing.
The bubonic plague was even longer, and nobody considered it normal.
Being hospitalized for protracted periods for mental illness or other conditions doesn't become normal. Even if the patient is fully compliant and accepts all the rules and routines of the institution, she remains at all times aware that this is an interruption of her life, rather than her actual life; that her personal normal is "out there". So does the convict serving time in prison.
One's attitude to the rules and conditions of avoiding a contagious disease are nothing like one's attitude to who gets married and who doesn't, and taking care not to infect one another is nothing like being antisocial.
You are right about this pandemic, like the bubonic plague, not becoming a Normal. Plague, like typhoon, comes and goes. The impact, initially severe, diminishes with time. We shall recover, no doubt about that. Would it teach us a lesson, or modify our behavior? If so, a New Normal, say social distancing, may be on the horizon. Why should we bother if the New Normal is beyond our control? Because we better be prepared, rather than be shocked and taken by surprise. We are living in a fast-changing world. Without forecasting, we would be heavily penalized.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Sculptor1 »

Alias wrote: July 11th, 2020, 10:33 pm The bubonic plague was even longer, and nobody considered it normal.
Not so.
Accounts from the ancient world accepted regular deaths from the plague as an ever present spectre.
And I think it fair to say that in the pre-modern world, say 160 years ago and more loss of life to endemic diseases was normal.
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Sculptor1
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Sculptor1 »

I think it possible to say that we have been in a temporary hiatus in the war against disease, enjoying a short term series of successes and ending some diseases for good. But as the population density increases nature is finding new ways to exploit our vulnerabilities.
Viruses are particularly difficult to challenge, as their apparent simplicity makes it easy for them to mutate successfully but makes it hard for us to keep up with the every changing strains.
This particular cat has been let out of the bag and shall soon mutate ahead of hopes of a vaccine, just as the flu manages to do each year.
Social distancing may become the new normal.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Sy Borg »

I think it will speed up our move towards ever greater digitisation of communication. As traffic density increases and free parking spaces disappear, it will become ever more convenient to communicate remotely. Experts expect the number of people working from home will not return to pre COVID-19 levels, about 5% in Australia at present, and will settle at about 10%.

However, that's a fairly short-term projection. All projections suggest that, pandemic or no pandemic, people will increasingly interact via screens rather than face-to-face due to traffic and, in some areas, heavy pollution and extreme weather.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

Greta wrote: July 12th, 2020, 7:09 pm I think it will speed up our move towards ever greater digitisation of communication. As traffic density increases and free parking spaces disappear, it will become ever more convenient to communicate remotely. Experts expect the number of people working from home will not return to pre COVID-19 levels, about 5% in Australia at present, and will settle at about 10%.

However, that's a fairly short-term projection. All projections suggest that, pandemic or no pandemic, people will increasingly interact via screens rather than face-to-face due to traffic and, in some areas, heavy pollution and extreme weather.
I think so too, especially in Asian cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

Unlike seedling, a New Normal can sprout from several sources, and it may be a moot point to argue which source contributes the most. However, there can be no argument that the pandemic has defined social distancing, as well as setting some criteria. We may settle down from 2m to 1.5m, or varied according to where you are.

This thread is more about the impact of Social Distancing than about whether Social Distancing has arrived.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Sy Borg »

gad-fly wrote: July 13th, 2020, 10:26 pm
Greta wrote: July 12th, 2020, 7:09 pm I think it will speed up our move towards ever greater digitisation of communication. As traffic density increases and free parking spaces disappear, it will become ever more convenient to communicate remotely. Experts expect the number of people working from home will not return to pre COVID-19 levels, about 5% in Australia at present, and will settle at about 10%.

However, that's a fairly short-term projection. All projections suggest that, pandemic or no pandemic, people will increasingly interact via screens rather than face-to-face due to traffic and, in some areas, heavy pollution and extreme weather.
I think so too, especially in Asian cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

Unlike seedling, a New Normal can sprout from several sources, and it may be a moot point to argue which source contributes the most. However, there can be no argument that the pandemic has defined social distancing, as well as setting some criteria. We may settle down from 2m to 1.5m, or varied according to where you are.

This thread is more about the impact of Social Distancing than about whether Social Distancing has arrived.
I see Singapore, HK and Tokyo as the future, not one I want personally, but seemingly where things are headed in urban areas around the world. As the old saying goes, "All roads lead to Rome"; in this case, all events lead to remote digital interactions replacing face-to-face ones. COVID is one more nail in the coffin of the physically interactive world that older people remember.
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by gad-fly »

Greta wrote: July 14th, 2020, 12:33 am
I see Singapore, HK and Tokyo as the future, not one I want personally, but seemingly where things are headed in urban areas around the world. As the old saying goes, "All roads lead to Rome"; in this case, all events lead to remote digital interactions replacing face-to-face ones. COVID is one more nail in the coffin of the physically interactive world that older people remember.
By following your argument on the trend to replace face-to-face contact, would there not be more population dispersal from the metropolis to suburb and rural areas? Do you mean this to be a new normal?
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Re: The Impact of Social-Distancing as a New Normal

Post by Alias »

gad-fly wrote: July 12th, 2020, 12:26 am Would it teach us a lesson, or modify our behavior? If so, a New Normal, say social distancing, may be on the horizon.
What makes you think the next emergency will be prevented by the same expedients that help to decrease the effects of this one?
Physical distance will not be the least bit effective against rising sea levels. Physical distancing will not avail against nuclear fallout, or global crop failure or any of the other things coming down the pipeline we should never have built. [/quote]
Because we better be prepared, rather than be shocked and taken by surprise. We are living in a fast-changing world. Without forecasting, we would be heavily penalized.
We've had all the forecasting we could possibly need. We just didn't respond appropriately. Ever.
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