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How the coronavirus could change American life as we know it



  • In just one month, the coronavirus pandemic has caused swift and dramatic disruptions to life in the US as states resort to lockdowns and most people are confined to their homes for work, school, and leisure.
  • We wonder: How will this crisis change society in the long-run?
  • Historians and a futurist told Business Insider how they expect the coronavirus pandemic to reshape American life as we know it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There have been only a handful of scenarios in recent American memory that have caused sweeping changes to our culture, economy, and government.

For many Americans, the COVID-19 crisis is equal in weight to 9/11 or the 2008 economic recession — two historic events of the 21st Century that brought forth new policy initiatives and reshaped the way we travel, think, and protect ourselves as a nation.

Today’s existential threat has left many Americans jobless, isolated, and wondering: What will happen next?

As the nation continues to combat this national emergency by shuttering nonessential businesses, closing schools, and encouraging Americans to stay home, we’ve found ourselves bracing for lasting changes to our society.

American life as we know it has already been widely disrupted — no longer are most people congregating in bars or parks, dining out, or going into the office for work.

As healthcare experts warn that the US has yet to see the worst of its outbreak, and information changes daily, we’ve turned to both the past, to see how pandemics have played out in history, and the future, to see how macro thinkers believe the virus could have a changing impact on American life.

Of course no one knows exactly what the future holds. Here are some possibilities for what could be in store, after the pandemic ends.

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