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Old 03-21-2020, 02:51 PM
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Positive impact of COVID-19 in the short and long term.


For all the downsides of COVID, there will be some checkboxes in the positive column.

One of the obvious ones is telework. It being forced on many employers will provide solid evidence that it can work and employees won't just sit at home binge watching Doogie Howser on Hulu. Sure there are plenty of managers that can't stand the thought of their minions being out of their immediate sight, but this will give some that were on the fence motivation to continue.

As an extension to that, all those tedious meetings that you knew could be handled via email. Turns out they could. Hopefully that trend continues.

There's an unlikely beneficiary of coronavirus: The planet
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From February 3 to March 1, CO2 emissions were down by at least 25% because of the measures to contain the coronavirus, according to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an air pollution research organization.
This one is just a hard data point that we can reduce pollutants. I know that production levels are going to go back to where they were and in some instances exceed pre-coronavirus levels, but I can hope for some positive impact in the long term.
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:30 PM
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I've also been thinking that all these distancing/sanitizing/etc. procedures will also cut down on the seasonal spread of regular flu (from which many people die every year) as well as other communicable diseases.

Crises like these bring out the best and the worst in people. I've been reading about many acts of kindness and caring, especially to the elderly (of which I am one), disabled, overwhelmed parents, etc.
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:48 PM
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In the long run I hope it let's people know you need a competent, functional government and health care system.

In the US our government just generally works so we treat it as reality TV and entertainment instead of an important part of society
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:54 PM
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In the long run I hope it let's people know you need a competent, functional government and health care system.

In the US our government just generally works so we treat it as reality TV and entertainment instead of an important part of society
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
For all the downsides of COVID, there will be some checkboxes in the positive column.
Without being sardonic, hopefully.

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One of the obvious ones is telework. It being forced on many employers will provide solid evidence that it can work and employees won't just sit at home binge watching Doogie Howser on Hulu. Sure there are plenty of managers that can't stand the thought of their minions being out of their immediate sight, but this will give some that were on the fence motivation to continue.
Driving today for the first time in a snowbound week, I heard an NPR talk with a few boffins, one of whom ran double-blind studies of Korean workers given the option to telecommute. His synopsis: Only half as many volunteered as expected. And half of those, after six months, wanted to return to full-time office work. Largely independent tasks, like help or order lines, showed notably improved productivity because quieter at home. Teams did worse. Much creativity arises from break-time chatter; much self-validation arises from interaction. The industrial psychology prof predicted increased mental troubles in those forced into at-home isolation. We mostly remain herd beasts.

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As an extension to that, all those tedious meetings that you knew could be handled via email. Turns out they could. Hopefully that trend continues.
That's the plus side. Meetings expected to last a half-hour can finish in ten minutes.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:44 AM
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The fact we are all living in totalitarian societies. The immense power of modern nation-states, freedom, rights, checks and balances are whatever the Government deigns to let us have.
The whole planet is under house arrest.

+ve you said? Well maybe this jolts people into civic engagement to ensure that this power is never unchecked
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:52 AM
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We'll have an interesting Global Warming natural experiment about what happens when a large amount of flying and driving shuts down for X amount of time. I'm expecting some excellent research to come out of this
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Old 03-23-2020, 12:48 AM
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I'm sure you've all seen these items in the news --

-- The grossly polluted air in major Chinese cities has become noticeably cleaner.

-- The polluted canals of Venice are running clear again in the absence of tourists.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Projammer View Post
One of the obvious ones is telework. It being forced on many employers will provide solid evidence that it can work and employees won't just sit at home binge watching Doogie Howser on Hulu. Sure there are plenty of managers that can't stand the thought of their minions being out of their immediate sight, but this will give some that were on the fence motivation to continue.
It could also prove them right
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:52 AM
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In the long run I hope it let's people know you need a competent, functional government and health care system.
...
I'm wondering when (if?) the folk who decry government as evil, will realize that they are clamoring for the government to do MORE to address this crisis.

Maybe this is the cockeyed optimist in me (NOT something I am often accused of), but is there a chance that this - as a common challenge - faced by all people of all nations - may lessen some of the political divide that has been widening recently? Service employees are being laid off - whether they vote blue or red. Bible thumpers and atheists will face challenges making rent/mortgages. Even the wealthiest are seeing their savings suffer.

I hear stories about the national unity that was strengthened during WWII - or even the "common experience" shared during the depression. Lacking ready access to excess, we may refocus on some basics that are truly important. And we may have a renewed appreciation of the desirability of interpersonal contact. Will nations appreciate the folly of aggression towards each other, compared towards progress towards shared interests?

Not suggesting this pandemic was desirable, but I'm hoping there is a chance of some beneficial effects as we weather this storm.

Hell, who am I kidding. We're likely to increasingly blame each other, magnify even minor discomforts and inconveniences, and retreat further into our virtual echo chambers!
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Last edited by Dinsdale; 03-23-2020 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:14 AM
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I know that I've become more grateful for simple pleasures and simple moments.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. Almost all the pasta was gone except for some rainbow salad twirly things. You know, the stuff that looks too healthy to be tasty. Cue the womp womp sound. But I bought it anyway. And it was so delicious! From now on that's the only kind of pasta I plan on getting from the store.

I have a feeling a lot of people are making small discoveries like this and treasuring them.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:09 AM
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Positive impact of COVID-19 in the short and long term.


Maybe we'll get the answer to Robert Frost's Fire/Ice dilemma; neither.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:26 AM
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FYI, I don't think the Venetian canals are clearer because they're less polluted, but rather because the sediment on the bottom isn't being stirred up. Those dolphin pics were fake. But AFAIK the cleaner air in China is real, and LA has had some lovely blue skies these last few days as well, though the rain may have played a part in that.

Over the past year Cozumel had been closing off much of its reefs to scuba divers, ostensibly to give the struggling reefs a chance to heal. The scuba diving community is upset about this, because the damage caused by divers is negligible compared to the damage caused by cruise ships, which have not been restricted. But now the cruise ships have been shut out too. I'm sure the reef will flourish in their absence. I just hope it promotes the government there to consider limiting cruise ships in the future, rather than attributing the effects to the absence of divers.

I've been hearing some rumblings among my Facebook friends about how this crisis has revealed the folly of our dependence on Chinese manufacturing. It's too early to tell whether it will translate to any meaningful change, but I think it would be wonderful if this prompted us to bring back some manufacturing jobs.

Last edited by Esprise Me; 03-23-2020 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:24 AM
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I bet a lot of people are learning to cook.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
In the long run I hope it let's people know you need a competent, functional government and health care system.
Social Security came about from The Great Depression. The CDC came about because of WWII as a successor to the Malaria Control in War Areas program. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed how vulnerable people are because of our parsimonious social safety net. I hope a long-term positive outcome will be a stronger, more generous social safety net. People should have universal access to health care. They should not lose their homes if they lose their jobs or get sick. As with The Great Depression and WWII, perhaps the pandemic will push us forward.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:49 AM
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It maybe a good thing that this will prepare us for future pandemics. Every country now knows that their hospital system is under prepared for a pandemic. Better we learn with a virus with a relatively low fatality rate than with something much more deadly.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Social Security came about from The Great Depression. The CDC came about because of WWII as a successor to the Malaria Control in War Areas program. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed how vulnerable people are because of our parsimonious social safety net. I hope a long-term positive outcome will be a stronger, more generous social safety net. People should have universal access to health care. They should not lose their homes if they lose their jobs or get sick. As with The Great Depression and WWII, perhaps the pandemic will push us forward.
In addition, I think people will come to see the internet as an indispensable utility, like electricity or phone, and have safety nets for people so they are not cut off from it.

For unemployed people, it can be necessary both for applying for unemployment, and for seeking new jobs. If a person if required to apply for 3 jobs a week to retain unemployment, and 70% of employers accept only online applications, someone without internet access is screwed.

And "phone" now means "Smart phone." Denying it is ridiculous. There are a lot of unskilled jobs that assume a person has a smart phone. I know my crappy job with Amazon flex requires one.

So we need to think of "cell phone plan" as a regular utility as well.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:05 AM
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It maybe a good thing that this will prepare us for future pandemics. Every country now knows that their hospital system is under prepared for a pandemic. Better we learn with a virus with a relatively low fatality rate than with something much more deadly.
Yes, IF we can put a government into place that gives a rat's ass about the population at large (not just the 1%).
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:34 PM
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Yes, IF we can put a government into place that gives a rat's ass about the population at large (not just the 1%).
Yes, a system to dissuade the hoi polloi from rising to slaughter the 1% would be prudent. That's why social safety nets were invented: to steal an issue from socialists; a healthier, more productive populace pays more taxes; and to ward off revolution.

I'll skip political arguments here and now. But systemic changes are likely.
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Old 03-23-2020, 01:43 PM
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During flu season our infection control department sends out a weekly email with the past weeks numbers and graph for the whole season. Based on today's email I'd say that the precautions we're all taking for covid19 is bringing flu season to a screeching halt as well.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:25 PM
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During flu season our infection control department sends out a weekly email with the past weeks numbers and graph for the whole season. Based on today's email I'd say that the precautions we're all taking for covid19 is bringing flu season to a screeching halt as well.
That's what I thought, too.
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
I've also been thinking that all these distancing/sanitizing/etc. procedures will also cut down on the seasonal spread of regular flu (from which many people die every year) as well as other communicable diseases.
....
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:46 AM
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Maybe the appeal of living in the suburbs, away from your neighbors, and commuting to your big spacious office in your own clean, comfortable private automobile will make a comeback.
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