Even the experts have trouble pinpointing when exactly a pandemic ends. In the case of COVID-19, we are assuming it will become endemic, but community spread in some areas is still at pandemic levels. People without the added protection of vaccination may also continue facing the danger of the current pandemic for years to come.
Despite its long tail, we are already feeling COVID-19’s post-pandemic effects, many of which would likely be the same for other pandemics.
Raise your hand if you lost your job during COVID-19! Many industries rely on activities you can’t safely enjoy during a pandemic, and those jobs will still be in danger when the next one occurs. With huge numbers of people people taking time off work to recover from illness or even vacating their jobs because their illness killed them, pandemics cause supply chain interruptions and general economic devastation. It will take some families years to regain the housing they lost as a result of lost income.
We don’t have many recommendations for this, but you should be prepared. If a pandemic drags on for a year or more, it is likely to cause far-reaching economic pain.
One way to prepare is to broaden your skill sets, which will make it easier to change careers if a pandemic makes yours untenable. If you like working with computers, consider learning coding. A real estate license is always a great fall back, or you could research day trading. Learn about different careers to find out which ones match your interests. Jobs that can be done remotely are always a great option when physical contact might mean a severe illness.
Having even a little experience in or knowledge about a different field may make it easier to change gears quickly if your job suddenly slips away.
Living through a pandemic probably filled you with questions you’d never thought to ask before. Learning about the history and projected future of global pandemics is a great way to prepare for the next one.
Our picks aren’t the only ones available, but they’re a great start:
- The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry, historical nonfiction that examines every aspect of the 1918 flu pandemic.
- Virus Hunter: Thirty Years of Battling Hot Viruses Around the World by CJ Peters and Mark Olshaker, co-written by the doctor who fought against Ebola.
- Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen, an overview of animal infections that had spilled over into human populations.
Is This All Pointless?
As time warped around you while you sheltered at home, did you start to lose your sense of self? Did doing the bare minimum feel like an insurmountable task on some days? Whether it was clinical depression or the crushing weight of existential dread, you weren’t the only one.
Looking back on that feeling, you might be asking yourself if all of this preparation means anything, since individuals live or die at the whim of the disease. So what can you do?
Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be.
So let’s assume we’ll live at the whim of the disease! To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Preparing now might give you the edge you need to scrape through the worst of it. And if you really feel like it’s pointless,
If nothing else, healthy habits such as good hygiene, good nourishment, and good sleep will make you feel better whether or not we’re struck down by another global pandemic during this decade. Keep your prep kit stocked, keep your chin up, and remember to say at least one thing in every Zoom meeting!