Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Things will never truly return to "normal" after the coronavirus. That's cause for eager anticipation, and also for dread.

What to expect: The world after COVID-19 will be poorer, at least for a time. 

  • It will be more unequal too, both within countries — where many skimmed along without coffee meetings and business trips, while others performed newly dangerous jobs, or lost them — and between them.
  • Developing nations were hit earliest and hardest, and they'll likely be slowest to recover.

That’s some of the bad news, but perhaps not all of it. 

The other side: There's cause for optimism among the rubble. Practices and institutions that endured only through inertia before the pandemic may be halted, and then reversed.

  • Systemic racism, inadequate health care and incompetent governance have all been laid bare. Unprecedented displays of international solidarity have filled streets from Minneapolis to Nairobi.
  • Technologies and ideas that already existed are now being put to widespread use — to conduct business, education and health care remotely, for example.
  • Crises have historically yielded innovation and creativity, as the FT’s Tim Harford documents. After the Plague came the Renaissance; after the Great Depression, the New Deal.
  • For starters, medical research is now moving with unprecedented urgency. That haste has its own dangers, but the breakthroughs that are achieved will likely facilitate others.

What to watch: Innovation may surface in surprising ways. It was the death of thousands of horses in an 1815 famine, the Economist notes, that led Karl von Drais to invent the bicycle.

  • Incidentally, demand for bicycles has never been higher. That’s in part due to the difficulties of traveling through our pandemic world. 
  • But it’s also indicative of a more encouraging trend, backed up by polling data. After so much time spent in our homes, we’re finding greater appreciation in the world outside.

The bottom line: The pandemic won't only change the world, but also the way we look at it.

Go deeper

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 30,814,638 — Total deaths: 957,632— Total recoveries: 21,068,829Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 6,766,724 — Total deaths: 199,268 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: Trump's health secretary asserts control over all new rules, including for vaccines In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.
Sep 18, 2020 - Health

CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people

CDC director Robert Redfield testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Sept. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its previously revised guidance for coronavirus testing on Friday to say that testing asymptomatic people who were exposed to COVID-19 is recommended for treatment and contact tracing.

Why it matters: The CDC's modification in August to recommend against testing for asymptomatic people was not written by scientists and posted despite their "serious objections," New York Times first reported. CNN confirmed that the agency's update was published outside the agency's "normal review process."