What if the Coronavirus Had Happened in 2000?

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Make no mistake: this coronavirus period will have a permanent place in history. It’s a truly unique time to be living in, and we’ve yet to experience the full effect it will have on the world. However, let’s play a little thought experiment…

What if we were to imagine that the Coronavirus struck the world in the year 2000? Our world has undergone radical changes in the past 20 years… Would we have coped better or worse?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of a pandemic in the year 2000.

THE PROS

1) Less Fake News

Back in the year 2000, the internet was still in its infancy. Conspiracy theories may have floated around but only at the fringes of the world wide web. If people wanted to know what was going on, they got it from newspapers and TV. Now, anyone can upload rubbish and claim its news. Unfortunately, the internet has led to a clickbait online economy. Bloggers want hits on their site, and will stretch the truth to get them.   Back then, we were living in more trustworthy times.

2) Less Distraction

The coronavirus has made us spend a lot more time at home, and, in theory, that seems like a good thing. However, it’s all too easy to waste the extra time we have. There’s Netflix, Youtube, and Social Media hogging our attention. Back in the year 2000, none of these were around, and we’d have probably used the time more productively, like reading a book. 

3) More Patience 

Digital technology and the internet has made us accustomed to fast results and instant gratification. We get what we want when we want it. The unfortunate bi-product is that we’ve become far less patient, and pandemics require patience. It takes a while for health authorities to ensure our safety in public spaces. Perhaps it’d have been easier to relax and wait it out in the year 2000.

THE CONS

1) Less Entertainment

At times like these, streaming sites like Netflix, iTunes and the avalanche of online entertainment available seems like a God-send. Any movie, audiobook, song or podcast is available to us. In 2000, we weren’t so lucky. Back then, most of us watched cable, and the prospect of sitting through a repeat of ‘The Antiques Roadshow’ could be a reasonable option.

2) Remote Working Was Tough

Developments in video-calling software, email and social media means that communication between colleagues is unbelievably easy. This has thankfully allowed many businesses to still remain productive, with employees working from home. By the end of the 90s (when Fax Machines were a thing), it was a different story, and there would have been many more redundancies back then.

3) Online Delivery

Online shopping and ordering means we can get most of what we would want and need delivered straight to us. While a copy of the Yellow Pages would have helped back then, more recent websites and apps have given us a much wider choice and an easier way to order.

While we may romanticize the past and its relative simplicity, there’s no doubt that, on a practical level, present-day technology makes the lockdown far more manageable. And when things go back to normal, and flights open up once again, it’ll take us only a few minutes to book that much needed vacation. Try doing that in 2000!


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