It is difficult, while we are closed in our homes to observe deserted cities through the window, not to try to imagine the future of our society after a historical closure like the one we are experiencing. What will the world be like after coronavirus? Will nothing be like before after the biggest world epidemic in recent history?
The first aspect to be analyzed is the macro consequences of the current world emergency. It is very probable that this situation will result in a slowdown, if not a real crisis, in the processes of globalization, the effects of which are already seen now with the closure of borders, the reduction of flights, of contacts, and which will have important consequences on the production of goods, on the relocation and on the distribution of work. To cite an example that we live every day, at least in Italy, it is evident that at least a reflection is needed on the fact that to procure some basic goods (such as masks) you can no longer think of being able to rely on a distant country.
Then there is the outbreak of an unprecedented world economic crisis: according to the world labor organization, the global GDP will drop by 3% and as there consequence will be tens of millions of unemployed more in the world.
Even the balance of power is destined to change: there will be some countries that will strengthen, while those that have shown their fragility, showing not be able to manage this crisis in a community way, will certainly suffer a reputational loss.
At the micro-level, the consequences are under our eyes: Social distancing risks becoming a normal component of our lives because, even when there will be a return to normal, which will never be the same as before but must be redesigned, these rules will remain in part, at least until medical responses arrive. And the consequences will affect not only normal social relationships but also the world of education and culture: the size of the collective and face-to-face will, however, be missing.
Among other things, the consequence of isolation is likely to be a real isolationism that exacerbates selfish attitudes, which can be reflected in espionage and mass tip-off, which risks making local phenomena emerge, even more exacerbated by the economic crisis and which risk being a factor of social disintegration.
We must, therefore, prepare to work hard to make concrete the hope that this collective emergency can also bring some positive elements.
Actually, the other side of the coin could be that this current isolationism is transformed into a desire for sociality, a rebound, a rediscovery of otherness as a value and a greater awareness of the importance of the relationship with others. If we want to be optimistic, we can imagine a world with less cynicism and a reduction in the value of money, a world where we will all have a little less but we can be happier.
One can dare to imagine that we can start from the cities, not only from neighborhood relationships but also through a new use of city spaces. Many unused spaces, urban voids, abandoned or degraded spaces: places where a collective social intelligence can create new forms of aggregation. Above all, health management will also have to change (or at least it should): this emergency has shown everyone how fundamental it is to have a highly territorialized health system, with structures that can intervene quickly if not preventively, with professionalism but even with the humility to treasure the experiences of others.
The scope of global cooperation should concern not only information but also the production and exchange of medical equipment, respiratory aids, diagnostic tests, on the fundamental search for a vaccine, the only solution.
And we hope that this global emergency has taught all the countries of the world, the community, the institutions, the political and media actors that without scientific developments there is no progress. It is a right of humanity, a right to health for all, through excellent research on infectious diseases, tumors, chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, achievable with national and international scientific collaboration, without nationalisms, in the spirit of global cooperation, transparency; in a word, of trust. This will allow us to continuously accumulate new data, based on the different health experiences, so as to proceed with statistical processing on the expansive trends of viruses and its various ramifications, on the analysis of the effects of different drugs, on the analysis of particular cases. The scope of global cooperation should concern not only information but also the production and exchange of medical equipment, respiratory aids, diagnostic tests, on the fundamental search for a vaccine, the only solution.
Global cooperation will then also be needed with regard to economic recovery, to restart the global value chains.
The legacy of the coronavirus must be precisely this: to recover the extraordinary strength of global cooperation.