Pandemic to endemic: How the world can learn to live with COVID-19

With prospects of herd immunity fading, endemic COVID-19 is upon us, and new “whole of society” approaches are needed.

By Sarun Charumilind, Matt Craven, Jessica Lamb, Shubham Singhal, and Matt Wilson

“Because transmission can occur wherever people congregate, most spaces—including workplaces, schools, events, and public areas—must consider how to enable safe interactions. The ways people work, learn, and socialize will return to normal or near normal, but must happen in safe ways that lessen the transmission of risk while being (and being accepted as) minimally disruptive (like wearing seat belts for road safety). The public and private sectors both have important roles to play: a range of policies and practices (like wearing masks in certain contexts or giving up handshakes17 ) and disincentives and incentives (such as the ability to join public gatherings) will likely hasten the arrival of a new set of social and cultural norms. Over time, infrastructure improvements can continue to reduce the risk of transmission in indoor spaces. For example, reconfiguring workspaces to enable physical distancing, scaling the use of HEPA filters, and improving air flow can all reduce risk of transmission…

Perhaps the hardest of all is the mindset shift, as we slowly accept that COVID-19 is not a temporary phenomenon that we can bury in our memories but rather a structural shift in how we live, requiring permanent changes in behavior. But if we are to truly reclaim our lives, now is the moment to start building.”

Source: McKinsey & Company