It is more than a year that I do not post on covid-19 as a virus, but at most I speak of the politics that surrounds us.
The reason is that more than a year ago I already wrote that we are fighting the virus (vaccines, lockdowns, etc) but we are not fighting the pandemic, understood as the fact that the virus is spread in more than 100 countries.
Consequently, while the vaccination campaigns are carried out, and also with difficulty due to the followers of "alternative medicines" also known as no-vax, the virus develops new mutations. I already said this, and it will happen again, again, again, again …
The only surprising news is that viruses usually become, by mutating, LESS lethal. This virus, on the other hand, appears to maintain its lethality. Because'? There are several possible hypotheses:
- no possible mutation in its RNA is less lethal. (the algebra of permutations by itself does not prohibit it)
- it is not the virus that kills, but the vast majority are external factors (obesity, old age, previous illnesses). In this case, the virus can't do anything about it, whatever mutation happens.
In any case, it seems that this cycle is capable of lasting, and the possible mutations are in the order of several hundreds of thousands.
So will it last forever? Obviously not.
But not because the virus will change. Because society will change. I'll give you an example: after seeing the last two years, if you were to open a company, would you rent a location with 20 offices, or one with two offices, a good connection and a VPN concentrator?
Obviously the new companies will go to the second one. And if you were to change the location of your company, would you go to a larger or smaller location?
All these single micro-choices obviously do nothing but transform society. If you had a restaurant would you focus on tables or on home delivery?
In this way, in the turnover, a company is transformed. I estimate that within 10 years or so, the present society will have transformed itself to be indifferent to the virus. The big changes could be:
- within three to four years, the expansion of fiber networks and new satellite networks such as Starlink will be complete. The Home office, if not smart working, will be the norm and no longer "a percentage".
- within three to four years the digitization and dematerialization of services will be complete. We will no longer go to a place X to do this: if possible we will do it online, otherwise we will order this thing at home.
- within two to three years, the cash, vehicle of infection, will have disappeared, replaced by electronic wallets or fintechs, such as Klarna. The coins will remain, but the bills will disappear. Again, less physical contact.
- I have bad news for tourism and for air travel. You are under the asteroid. I'm sorry, but the fastest way the virus spreads is by air travel. Nobody will invest in companies that may be paralyzed by a new mutation.
- as happens in any lasting epidemic, cities will empty in favor of the countryside. Sorry for the real estate developers, you can kick the can forward as much as you like, but in the end you will be left with the match in hand. But the low population density lowers the odds of infection, period.
- social life will shift to the hot period, when the infection calms down because people go out and the virus holds up very badly both in open air and in solar radiation.
- Older people will have work from home or stricter rules than younger people. This is also an inevitable effect of the mortality pattern:
Once the company has been transformed in this direction (there will also be a whole series of micro-transformations, sector by sector), the amount of contacts between people will be reduced, both in volume and in time of the year, from lower mortality down to "normal flu".
I make this prediction because what I notice is a simple fact: human society changes behavior faster than the virus.
It therefore seems obvious to me that the virus will be much more likely to be defused by social change than by any action against the virus itself.
The changes above you seem drastic and unlivable, but keep in mind that they describe some Scandinavian societies quite well, especially when we say "social life will shift towards summer". After all, these are not very hard changes.
The point is, of course, very simple: the virus apparently takes about six to seven months to produce a disturbing new variant. But the company is able (and we have seen it) to change the mode of operation in shorter times: the measures approved today can go into effect in a week, and to approve them it takes a week or two of discussion.
It is obvious, in this perspective, that the end of the pandemic will not happen because society transforms the virus into something that is not dangerous (as is done with vaccines) but simply because society changes quickly, faster than virus.
With all due respect to those who want to keep old habits at all costs.
I believe that in about 10 years (as a maximum time) all the useful transformations will be completed, and in the end the virus will cease to be lethal, at least in developed countries, precisely because a new lifestyle will greatly slow down its contagiousness. .
And no, we have no alternative strategy to stop the pandemic, that is, to fight it WORLDWIDE at the same pace and in the same way, within 10 years.
So the only possible strategy will win, adaptation.