Rolling Back to Normal

I love the quote of the day in the NY Times. This past week, Diane Swonk, a chief economist, said, “It turns out it’s easier to put an economy into a coma than wake it up.”

Here in downtown NYC, it feels like things are rolling back to normal. The laws are loosening, and in September, the theater opens. Restaurants are truly at 100% capacity, although they aren’t supposed to be quite yet. People are respectful about putting on masks when going into a store or ordering food, but the streets have many without. The stats are almost zero in NYC of people getting Covid. We have gone out every single night and even had a big party. Vaccinations work.

We will never roll back to normal. The question is, what is the new normal? We have quite a while before we see how it all shakes out, but it will. The one clear thing is that many big businesses in multiple industries are not really succeeding. Just like the infrastructure in our country, the last thirty years have been semi-stagnant. Supply chains aren’t up to speed. Shopping for clothes in brick and mortar locations still has a way to go. Grocery is too big, just like big box stores. Every one of these places got smacked during Covid. They were heading over the cliff, but Covid sped it up. Thank god, it was so painful to watch.

Everything really has changed. Covid has shown us multiple holes from childcare to a broken education system and voids we didn’t even know about, like grocery delivery. After the Spanish Flu, the healthcare system changed. It highlighted the need for a better healthcare system. So if we follow what has been brought to light during Covid, those industries will start to change. It might take some time, but to return to something that was never that great, to begin with after a global pandemic, makes zero sense.

But then again, it does seem strangely normal.