Since the emergence of COVID-19 on the global scene, seas of ink have been spilled to forecast the future; how geopolitics, economy, society, trade, international relations and a long et cetera will change. The reality is that there are too many questions where venturing an answer would be perhaps to speculate. Throughout history, some plagues have generated epic changes; others, advances in science; and others have simply left victims, without generating major transformations.
Here are some of the questions that hang on the coronavirus’ horizon, and the answers to which will only be provided by time:
How long will the COVID-19 crisis, now spreading irregularly across the planet, last?
Will there be resurgences with more or less virulence?
How long will it take to get a vaccine?
What effect will the virus have on elections in the United States?
Has China finally beaten the virus?
Will central bank policies be enough to prevent a financial and social catastrophe?
Will governments play a central role in the economy through old-school nationalization and restriction?
Will the world order be broken or altered, whatever that means?
Will Bretton Woods, the World Trade Organization, the U.N. and the U.N. Security Council survive?
In low- and middle-income countries, will the virus cause social disorder and the breakdown of public order due to potentially overwhelming unemployment, hunger, collapse of the health system and despair?
Will the rule of law be strengthened or will it be broken by the current heavy role of government and emergency measures?
Does this “every man for himself” approach adopted by nations, each one closing in on itself to solve its own crisis, open a new paradigm?
Will the borders between currently closed nations reopen once the virus disappears?
Will the European Union survive?
Will society organize around communities of solidarity or will it continue to depend on paternalistic government?
Will the state of their health be part of the state surveillance of its citizens?
Will it be the end of globalization and global supply chains?
Will the United States and China choose a collaborative or confrontational path?
Will a more austere world emerge, less obsessed with consumerism and ostentation?
Will there be a transformation of social roles, privileging some professions and trades and devaluing others?
Will the activities, reunions, meetings, conferences and conventions that migrated to the network return to their former mode?
Will convention centers be new white elephants, monuments to be displayed in a hundred years like medieval castles?
Will people return to mass events or will they migrate to a new format on the network?
How much xenophobia will the crisis produce?
Will science win the battle over politics?
Will climate change keep its place on the international agenda or be relegated to the bottom of the drawer?
What will commercial aviation look like?
Is the world in suspended animation, and will everything remain the same as it was before?
Questions, just questions.