COVID-19 has changed our lives, and often not for the better. Many of us have lost peers, friends, and often we are limited to mourning in our own home, without closure.
Working and living conditions have become complicated, to say the least, and the infrastructures we built ourselves over the last 50 years were not meant to sustain this way of life overnight.
And now for the harsher part: it might not go away anytime tomorrow.
Everything with Covid-19 points towards long term, resurgent infection periods, that will require constant adaptation of our social interactions.
On the one hand, we cannot keep the world on pause indefinitely, but on the other, ignoring the risk of infection could have much more catastrophic consequences.
Between those two discomforts, avoiding a life of misery, lies a path towards changing our ways of working, of living, of producing goods, of consuming, and of moving things and people around, safely. And frankly speaking, the planet doesn't seem to mind humans giving it a rest.
Technology can help, and while some prototypes may have to become ready a bit sooner than anticipated, we can start building a world where remote and connected is the norm, without rushing back to thousands of kilometers of daily traffic jams.
Going back to the world of 3 months ago might not be possible before long, so we might as well invent a new one.
Intermittent distancing may be required into 2022 unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or a treatment or vaccine becomes available. The authors are aware that prolonged distancing, even if intermittent, is likely to have profoundly negative economic, social, and educational consequences.