COVID-19 Tuesday Morning News

The COVID-19 crisis is fast-moving with information bombarding us in real-time. On this Tuesday morning, as we awake to more isolation and rising numbers, there is much to consider across every domain. Some like Enrique Dans are writing about the changes coming to Education. Issues like a drop in school attendance, obsolescence of teaching methods, technology barriers of entry to education, and an aversion to face-to-face interaction are likely to change education as we know it. As it is with every domain, institutions, academic directors, teachers or students who are unable to adapt will simply have no place in this new scenario. As a new normal emerges, educators are likely to revise their teaching methods and evaluation approaches, among other things.

Things will change dramatically in the real estate domain according to this recent Article by Peter Lane Taylor. In general real estate agents can’t show houses, inspectors won’t inspect, and appraisers can’t appraise. Home closings in process before the economy froze are now done virtually. Short-term rental income has vanished, building supply companies are shuttered, and commercial construction sites are shut down. Looking ahead, virtual closings, having a virtual presence, doing 3D tours and virtual presentations is part of a future that emerges. In our homes and work places, touch-less interfaces emerge, digital home office capabilities become must haves, and smart feature adoption increases.

In another Article, the author speaks of a wake-up call for leaders. In a statement that resonates well with a Futurist, Ira Bedzow states that if leaders look only to solve immediate problems without also taking a step back to consider the bigger picture, they may stay afloat in the short term only to face existential problems later. A fear of future outbreaks will change our behaviors and the way the public regulates social gatherings. A return to normal may not be viable, as new modes of behavior block a path to the old ways. The author explores both real estate and education.

What is the COVID-19 impact on farmers? This Article explores that question via an interview with Scott Brown, an associate extension professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Missouri. In the interview, Mr. Brown states that the loss of the food service industry has created a dramatic decline in the demand for agricultural products. He provides an interesting statistic: the USDA estimated that food-at-home purchases by consumers totaled $781 billion in 2018 while food-away-from-home purchases totaled $931 billion—that ratio looks a lot more lopsided right now. He speaks of the monumental task to change an infrastructure designed to provide a significant percentage of products for the food service industry to now increase product flow to groceries. Much like every industry, some farmers, processors, distributors, and others will be forced to exit the industry as a result of the severe economic situation they face today.

Speaking of food, this Article describes a ramp up of rooftop farming in Singapore. As the virus upends supply chains, new measures to accelerate local food production are required. The plan is to turn car park rooftops in public housing estates into urban farms. Yet another example of the pandemic accelerating a movement that was likely to happen, but on a different timeline. For example, climate change and population growth were already threatening the food supply. The article states the issue very clearly:

“The current COVID-19 situation underscores the importance of local food production, as part of Singapore’s strategies to ensure food security. Local food production mitigates our reliance on imports, and provides a buffer in the event of food supply disruptions.”

For additional thoughts on the pandemic, see my previous posts.

FEATUREDA Post Pandemic Society

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