Life After COVID-24
Another day in your neighborhood.
The not-too-distant future, where the COVID-19 vaccine didn’t exactly pan out…
Or herd immunity didn’t happen quite as was suggested. Or antibody tests were found to indicate nothing more than political preference. Or any number of terrible things combined to make reinfection a real and total bummer.
Although COVID-19 peaked and faded (and your neighborhood, like the rest of the world, pretty much recovered) we never got around to developing a solution for those darn viral pandemics. So when COVID-20 reared its head, we didn’t get a headstart. Not to mention the rapidly evolving Super Virus that was COVID-21through23.
It’s well into the decade, and COVID-24 has run rampant, subjecting us to a grueling stint of prolonged isolation.
With the latest virus on the decline, we’ve emerged into a radically changed world. Here’s what an average day in your life looks like.
The morning commute
Waking to a weary murmur from the 8,351st Daily Briefing on transmission levels in your local area, you get ready for work, showering according to the Governer’s recommended personal cleanliness routine.
(Best not to watch his self-filmed YouTube explainer.)
Riding down Main on the always-gridlocked twelve-lane cycle freeway, you store your bike in self-locking racks and navigate a series of handsfree security doors and foot pedal-operated elevators to your socially-distanced desk.
It’s a monthly sprint meeting, and though you’d normally work remotely, you felt it was important to show your face. You have a sneaking suspicion that the last five promotions were all given to demonstrably COVID-immune colleagues, who can impress the high-value clients with regular face time and their functioning, unscarred organs.
Like millions of others, you’re suffering a form of Post-Pandemic Endemic (PPE) claustrophobia.
Heading out for a bite at your allotted time in the distancing schedule, you have a sudden panic attack in the elevator. Like millions of others, you’re suffering a form of Post-Pandemic Endemic (PPE) claustrophobia.
Sheltering in place for eighteen months left you with a traumatic stress disorder that presents itself in confined spaces and when alone for long periods, or upon hearing the words ‘strange’ and ‘uncertain.’
Bracing yourself against a wall on a one-way sidewalk (without using your hands), you pull out your phone. Managing the episodes involves regular remote counseling sessions, paid for by your medical plan, and attended by thousands at a time, designed specifically to treat confinement-related issues.
Likewise, the high dose CBD capsule you’ve just popped is part of a widespread national cannabis prescription program — the weed industry booming thanks to a need for healthier alternatives to benzo-based anti-anxiety medication. While you’re at it, you take a healthy swig of CBD cold brew.
After work exercise
You feel like a spot of natural scenery so decide to run around the park — which requires taking the subway. You change into your Nike running shirt with built-in N95 smart filter mask, and wait in awkward socially distanced lines on the platform.
Riding the train, you stare at ad after ad for COVID-related lawsuits. They’re everywhere these days, and most companies allocate vast resources to settlements and payouts. (Did you contract COVID after being forced to return to work early? Our highly skilled remote team of lawyers is here to help you…)
Your run is pleasant, but as a result of the evening sunshine, the park is a little busy. Your podcast keeps being interrupted by your phone’s social-distance warning system, which screams SAFE DISTANCE WARNING in your ear every time it senses you’re breaching the six-foot gap.
Dinner with friends at your favorite taco place
Ready for the evening, you head to a local scenic spot to meet up with friends and enjoy some food from the city’s premier ‘before times’ restaurant. It’s a good place — they try hard to recreate an old fashioned dining experience — except you don’t travel to the food anymore: it comes to you.
After ordering through an app, your restaurant arrives. Branded tableware and dishes are dressed by a service person — who flips-down at sneeze guard before mixing your quadruple cocktail.
You submit your GPS data to the all-seeing Amazon Alexa guarding the entrance.
After a long day, you’re happy to get home and watch an episode of the latest must-watched animated series (the only new live-action shows are sports, played behind closed doors to hologramed, social media crowds).
Approaching your building, you stop in the designated safe area for a couple to leave the lobby, then you submit your GPS data to the all-seeing Amazon Alexa guarding the entrance. She begrudgingly lets you in after getting the green light.
At the door to your apartment, your partner greats you with a precautionary temperature check before kissing you hello (on the cheek, as is now the recommended standard).
They ask if you’ve already eaten — you tell them about the restaurant and ask what they’re having. It’s something plant-based. It has to be, since the global livestock industry was acknowledged as a moral, ethical, climate, and public health nightmare, and legislated to extinction.
You drift off with the help of the obligatory meditation app, before your insomnia kicks in, and you spend the night playing the latest virtual vacation video game — digital Mars is so lovely this time of year.