The coronavirus emergency will lead to changes, some desirable and some not. Here is my starter for ten likely outcomes.
One. An increase in obesity, as those already inclined to inactive and unhealthy lifestyles sit at home, sustained by delivered pizza and chips.
Two. The loss of many small businesses, including those that were part of the social fabric such as coffee shops, pubs, specialty shops. Some city streets will be unrecognisable.
Three. Bitterness among the friends and relatives of those who die, which will compound the pressure for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the emergency in the interests of providing “closure”. The inquiry will do no such thing.
Four. Increased taxation, not to provide better public services but to pay off the massively increased borrowing required for financial support to people during the shut down.
Five. The exploitation of the emergency by public authorities to relax scrutiny and other procedures which ensure openness in decision-making. Parliament is to be shut down and local councillors will delegate decisions to officers, meeting only occasionally by remote methods, effectively excluding press and public from meetings.
Six. A resurgence of social and community networks and a strengthening of personal relationships. Talking by phone or holding video-meetings will become frequent and commonplace, and there will be hard evidence that many business meetings really don’t need to be face-to-face.
Seven. Cleaner air in cities, already evident from the live air pollution statistics, will become permanent as people realise there is no need to go back to pre-emergency travel patterns.
Eight. A kinder and more thoughtful public discourse, as people judge that divisive Brexit is a trivial issue compared to the need to come together to stop people dying from the coronavirus.
Nine. A permanent reduction in disease brought about by a recognition of the value of hand-washing, still regarded as one of the most effective ways of minimising the transmission of bugs and other nasties.
Ten.. An abundance of new writing, particularly novels, drawing on the live-changing impacts of the emergency. Some will be utter rubbish, a few will be great.
And there will be many more lists like this one.