A popular scientific term in today’s zeitgeist is called The Butterfly Effect, which states that one action of any size will cause a ripple of effects that ends up causing a larger change to a later slate. The world is currently in a Butterfly Effect with the larger change to be experienced in the years to come, and possibly forever.
The action that will cause a large change to the ways in which societies operate is the COVID-19 pandemic. Already attacking the societies of the world, this virus continues to ravage the industries and businesses by making them succumb to a new normal that is quite abnormal compared to previous standards and practices. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, mask-wearing and social distancing have become a new norm. However, while the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually disperse, the impact that it caused may live on permanently.
Unlike early anticipations and predictions, the number of cases in the United States has continued to steady around 45,000 per day (within the last 30 days), even with the mandatory mask and social distance mandates in effect across the country. Even more alarming are the current effects this pandemic is having on the U.S economy, with many schools forced to pursue online options and many businesses forced to close. Concerning the latter, data has shown that over 97,000 businesses have permanently closed over the last 6 months, assumingly from the pandemic.
While not permanent, one such business that has been forced to close is the movie industry. Regal Cinemas recently announced that they would be temporarily shuttering their theaters to avoid losing money from the vast amount of movie delays. In the ongoing story of bankruptcy, AMC Theaters has admitted that they only have enough cash-flow to support business through the end of 2020, which suggests that if they don’t follow Regal’s example then they may never survive the pandemic.
Another casualty from the pandemic is the theme park industry, which has been a large factor in the unemployment rates of the U.S. Solely looking at Disney, the company has recently announced that due to the closure of their California park and the 25% capacity of their Orlando park, over 28,000 more employees would be released from the company. This blow was made considerably worse after the governor of California stated that there wasn’t a rush to creating guidelines that would allow theme parks to reopen.
Regarding the effects that all of these ongoing actions will have on future American societies, it is safe to assume that the businesses that do survive will be forced to expect lower profit margins as social distancing and limited capacity in public spaces will likely continue to be present through the societal norms and governmental mandates. Like the flu, COVID-19 will not simply go away. It will be a constant threat until a vaccine is discovered, and by new reports, such vaccines won’t be given to the entire U.S population until 2022.
This two-year delay until the mass circulation of COVID-19 vaccines is likely an indicator that the normal of the pre-COVID days will not be experienced any time soon. It also confirms that Americans will have to adapt to an economy that will produce fewer jobs and likely smaller salaries, as the smaller businesses may have a more difficult time finding ways to lure customers out of their homes and into the non-virtual world.
Brandon Bowers is a senior studying English Pre-Law at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Brandon by tweeting him at @UnabashedlyBMB.