30. NEW NORMALITY: Playing in the fog

Will we have a second wave of infections? When? In autumn? Or is it possible for the virus to disappear?

Considering the number of current infections in the world, and that governments are already talking about lifting restrictions on national and international mobility, a reasonable hypothesis is that outbreaks will arise again and that they will occur at different locations. If we are attentive to these outbreaks, and we are quick to test and isolate the infected, we could have a situation of some normality based on continually putting out fires. Here the responsibility of governments and people matters a lot. As of today, it would be inappropriate for a government to authorize an event for hundreds of people without a mask indoors, and inappropriate for a citizen to attend. It will be interesting to see how the pandemic evolves, and how we manage the balance of what we are willing to sacrifice in economy, in normality and in lives. In any case, the person who dares to predict how we will be a few months from now with respect to COVID-19, will be shooting a Panenka penalty: either score a tremendous goal, or making a dreadful spectacle of himself/herself.

New normality?

A good simile for the new normality that awaits us would be driving in fog. The fog is what we still don’t know about COVID-19. We can keep going, but slow down and drive very carefully on the road.

On Christmas Day 1937, Charlton Athletic played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a thick London fog. Charlton goalkeeper Sam Bartram tells in his memoirs how in the second half he spent about 15 minutes in his goal without seeing anyone because of the fog. He thought his team was attacking and that they had Chelsea locked up in their area. He did not stop paying attention to what was in front of him just in case the ball was approaching, but what approached his goal was a uniformed policeman to tell him that the game was suspended 15 minutes ago. When he got to the locker room, and despite being a respected player on the team —he played 623 times for Charlton and retired at the age of 42— his teammates laughed at him. He spent 15 minutes under the goal posts, which, afterwards, were unnecessary. But Sam, during that time, did not receive any goal.