Some satirical speculation on the new normal:
It was February 2022 and President Harris had just signed an executive order finally banning all interstate travel. Prime Minister Starmer was on the TV announcing the ninth national lockdown, this time with a 6pm to 6am curfew enforced by the army. The United Kingdom was to all intents and purposes in quarantine from the rest of the world. Trade with Europe was affected by lorry drivers parking trailers on ferries and then driving off. When the ferry docked continental drivers unloaded the trailers. Nobody would accept any people from the UK because it was there that the virus had mutated so much that it had been given new designations; SARS-CoV-3a and SARS-CoV-3b. The disease was now COVID 21.
The fleets of airplanes lay idle and rusting. Only the fighter jets flew patrolling the skies. Oil and gas were getting scarce. People shivered in their homes. Because of the travel ban most UK universities were in dire financial trouble. The shift to massively online learning did not go well. With no foreign students the finances began to dry up, students refused to pay the fees. No children had been at school for a year. Private tuition online became the norm for those with enough money.
The black-market supply in oxygen was thriving on the dark web. New oxygen separation facilities were springing up everywhere adding an increased strain to the national grid. AI sex robots a la Blade Runner were literally worth their weight in gold. The border conflict between China and India continued to escalate but had remained conventional so far.
In the United States the share price of Gilead had outstripped Apple. New ventures making hermetically sealed body bags were doing well on the Dow Jones. Big pharma was struggling to keep pace with the mutations. Volunteers for clinical trials fell away as it was becoming widely understood that many on a trial got only a placebo.
The Sons of Alba were getting increasingly deadly. They had shifted from simply burning houses to planting car bombs notably in London and the South East. Meibion Glyndwr was also once again active, like Mebyon Kernow they had started destroying second homes to keep the infectious city dwellers out.
The Schengen area had evaporated once again the borders were up. Each country eyeing the data of others to confirm which has the most virulent rate of infection. Some countries had stop publishing their infection rates. Online trade in strong steroid medication outstripped the sales of cannabis for the very first time. Private labs which used to make MDMA were switching to steroid synthesis as it was becoming more profitable. The market was flooded with sub-standard medication and laboratory glassware was in very short supply.
Coming soon to a world near you…