For many, normal still feels a long way away.
That’s understandable, considering a number of U.S. states, including Texas, Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma, are reporting growing infections. Still, various local governments continue to push ahead with reopening plans. New York City, for instance, is expected to enter Phase 2 of its business restart efforts, which includes opening of retail shops, outdoor dining and hair salons.
But business as usual is going to take a while. How long? Well, the New York Times recently polled more than 500 epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists about when we can expect to resume a range of activities that used to be a part of our everyday lives.
As you can seen, large gatherings are still a long ways off, according to the experts. They mostly agreed that smaller groups and being outdoors is the call at the moment. It’ll take a while, they said, before masks are no longer needed to curb the spread.
“Fresh air, sun, socialization and a healthy activity will be just as important for my mental health as my physical well-being,” Anala Gossai, a scientist at Flatiron Health, told the Times.
How about returning to the office?
“As much as I hate working at home, I think that working in a shared indoor space is the most dangerous thing we do,” said Cal Berkeley’s Sally Picciotto, one of the 18% of respondents who said they expected to wait at least a year before returning to the office.
And the greetings we’ve grown accustomed to?
Almost half of those in the survey said they would not hug or shake hands for more than a year, with 6% saying that they’ll actually never do it again. And never doing it again is just fine with Epiphi Consulting’s Carl Phillips, who told the Times NYT, -0.32% that he’s “always hated those particular needless exchanges of pathogens and unwanted touching.”
Here’s a breakout of the activities many believe will take at least a year to come back:
So, when do you think we’ll get back to normal?