The pandemic has a thousand faces. It changes how we meet each other, how we travel, how we learn and how we dress. Things that often lead to problems sometimes have positive aspects. Time to take stock and ask: what lies ahead, what will disappear and what will stay?
Text: Alexandra Schröder, Cornelia Theisen, Florian Lehmann, Robert Habi, Roman Scherer; Photography and illustration: Getty Images, Shutterstock, 3st, Simon Forest (unsplash)
Last but not yeast
At the beginning of the pandemic, yeast and flour were often in short supply: many people were using the lockdown to bake their own bread. The trend for homemade sourdough and experiments with banana bread continue. Whether the popularity of homemade bread stems from an elementary need for self-sufficiency during a crisis, or from the calming effect of kneading dough by hand, is something that science still needs to find out.
Prognosis: will stay for some time. The world’s oldest sourdough starter, originating in Canada, is claimed to be 120 years old. Perhaps a ‘coronadough’ will break that record one day.
Not without my protective mask
In Asia, even before the pandemic arrived protective masks were a commonplace sight on streets where massive crowds make it impossible to maintain distance from one another. In the West, we’re amazed at how quickly everyone has become accustomed to wearing them. Much like it’s a pretty good idea to wash your hands even without SARS-CoV-2, protective masks can prevent the transmission of everyday colds and the winter flu. And besides, they keep noses warm when temperatures drop below freezing.
Prognosis: will stay around for a while and is bearable when it serves our health.
“For me it’s more about physical distancing than social distancing. Social distancing sounds as if the only way to overcome this crisis is if we turn our backs on one another. The only way we’re going to be able to take care of and protect the people who are truly in need is if we build up or draw on whatever stock of social solidarity we still have.”Eric Klinenberg, Professor for Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University
Prognosis: will stay, considering that we’re all in the same boat.
Everything by video
Dating, cooking classes, after-work happy hours – not to mention work meetings. During the pandemic, many interpersonal relationships are playing out on people’s computer screens. There are a lot of advantages to be discovered, especially when it involves flexible work environments or class instruction. The limits of virtual encounters are nonetheless becoming highly evident. Compared to the real world, the cognitive burden is demonstrably higher, plus many people miss the physical contact of real get-togethers.
Prognosis: will stay to some extent, and that’s a good thing. Especially at work or school, this flexibility brings added value. But when it comes to raising one’s glass or a rendezvous, up-close and live is better.