How the virus is pushing America towards a better future

Critically, the pandemic may bolster our ties to our communities and families. However bumbling the governmental response, Americans in this crisis have engaged in personal charity, much in evidence throughout the pandemic. There remains a natural proclivity to engage the virus as close to home as possible, providing precisely the kind of local solution, which, as the medical journal The Lancet notes, is critical to meeting the challenges posed by the pandemic. The sense of social responsibility has not disappeared. Despite attempts by some Trumpians to politicize the response, a vast majority of Americans, even Republicans, continue to wear masks and most Americans continue to socially distance.

Even faith, which has been suffering for years, could make a comeback. After all, the great pandemics of the Roman era, as William McNeil noted in his Plagues and Peoples, served as an enormous boon to Christianity, whose adherents devoted themselves to treating the afflicted while the pagans “fled from the sick and heartlessly abandoned them. Pestilence undermined pagan Rome, as historian Kyle Palmer has revealed, but it jumpstarted Christianity’s rise to dominance…

Rather than the airport lounge, the new focus of work, as Al Toffler predicted decades ago, will be the home. Our lunge into telecommuting has reaped surprising productivity gains. Many companies, including banks and leading tech firms, including Facebook, Salesforce and Twitter, now expect a large proportion of their workforce to continue to remotely after the pandemic. A University of Chicago study suggests this could grow to as much as one third of the workforce. In Silicon Valley, it notes, the number reaches near 50 percent.