There is no going back to the old normal : corona is just a finger exercise for bigger challenges

We will get through the winter. But the new reality with climate crisis, species extinction and migration demands dynamics instead of continuity. A comment.

Model meeting in a restaurant - the old normality is not coming back

We are at the beginning of the cold season and wonder how we will get through the second pandemic winter. And we repeat the mistakes of anno 2020 and make a few more.

We have become accustomed to masks, but are now expected to throw them away in more and more areas – as a sign of a return to "normality". We didn’t have effective fans in schools last year, mostly don’t now.

We put all our eggs in the vaccination basket, promising ourselves immunity – a "normal" state comparable to when the virus didn’t yet exist. We have neglected the development of therapies.

How we get through this winter, no one knows. The winter wave will roll in, but it is unclear with what force and what surprises, for example in terms of new variants.

Equally unpredictable is the extent to which other pathogens – from flu viruses to pneumococci – will come back to threaten both individuals and the stability of the health system. Not even that no new lockdown is coming is certain.

We will continue to pay a price for the virus

Individuals, politicians, scientists and companies have done some things right, but they have also made many mistakes. The biggest one may have been that we’ve been chanting the mantra of returning to the old normal for too long. But the virus remains. We have to live with it and will still have to pay a price. People will continue to die from it and suffer the long-term consequences.

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The risks of this are massively reduced if one is vaccinated. But people will also suffer and die from side effects of vaccinations. And there will be new variants that bring new challenges.

We will get through this winter somehow. But even after that it will not be like it was before. The old alleged – even transfigured – normality will not return.

The word "normal" was a leitmotif of the AfD’s election campaign, a promise of a return to a glorified time not even that far in the past. reactionary-revisionist-realist and pseudo-conservative. But we won’t leave Corona behind, any more than we succeeded with nuclear weapons, heroin, trash TV and over-sugared canned drinks.

We have the chance of a new normality – if further crises in nature, climate, society and health do not follow one after the other so quickly that they overwhelm us. In this new normality, however, we would have to renounce the ideal of rigid stability, comfort and continuity. Rather, it should be characterized by dynamism and a willingness to change – forward-looking, active and responsive rather than backward-looking, passive and reactionary.

More on the topic

Whether it’s the Corona or climate crisis, democracies react too slowly?

Too slow, is one reproach to democracies. U.S. President Biden picked up on that in his 100-day speech

People have not been very good at this so far. And Corona – in the face of climate crisis, species extinction, migration, population pressure, social division, threats from new pathogens and environmental hazards from microplastics to nuclear waste – is just a finger exercise.

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