Life after the COVID-19 vaccine: Envisioning the ‘new normal’ – UChicago News

Since the COVID-19 virus was discovered, the world has waited for a vaccine that would help our lives return to some level of normalcy. Now that vaccine distribution has begun, what will this new normal look like?

In Life After the Vaccine,from the producers of the Big Brains podcast, University of Chicago experts explore what the vaccine rollout has revealed about our cities, and how it will impact our lives within themfrom our health care systems and businesses, to our educational and cultural institutions.

Learn more about the topics and read the video transcripts below:

So the vaccine is a complex gift. It both gives you a sense that you are protected, but it ought not give you a sense that youre free to do anything you want. The fact that you have the vaccine means that youve accepted the gift, and the gift comes with some strings attached.

Its a privilege to live in the city, but its a kind of privilege that carries with it a deep responsibility, a duty thats incumbent on each of us to make the city safe.

The nature of this pandemic is such that your personal choice affects the public realm. So when you say: Im not going to get a vaccine, but I want the right to continue to work. I want the right to get on an airplane and the right to go and hear the opera. What youre doing is youre imposing that risk on me, and on anyone in the community who might be more vulnerable.

Even if people get vaccinated, theres an issue of whether or not its safe to go back to work. Are the other people at work that youre dealing with vaccinated? Do they feel comfortable that youre vaccinated that theyll interact with you?

What vaccine passports can do is eliminate that uncertainty and give people the confidence to engage in activity as they get vaccinated. That is, to say, keeping activity rising in proportion to vaccination rates. In urban areas, where a lot of economic activity hinges on people interacting with each other, and where population density really increases the risk of infection, I think immunity passports may play a more important role in encouraging people as the vaccination campaign continues, of encouraging people to actually engage in economic activity.

Civic leaders need to use their privilege to advocate for communities that have been marginalized and have suffered the disparities that weve seen unveiled through this COVID-19 vaccine.

The public health system has to be set up in such a way that every citizen in every urban area in every state is a part of how care gets delivered within our cities and states, and not with the system of separatism and fragmentation and two systems of health carehealth care for the poor and health care for the affluent. We cant operate a public health system that way.

The use of spatial data can bring great insight into public health efforts and to deployment of the vaccine, in particular. We know, for instance, that low-income communities are at much greater risk, both for coming down with COVID-19, and for dying from COVID-19.

If we can use the data, for instance, from the census, where we know if buildings are multi-dwelling, we know the density of a particular neighborhood. Do they need to use public transit to get to work? All of that information can be brought to bear on characterizing the risk of a community and in understanding how we meet that risk in terms of our public health efforts.

Education is not one-size-fits-all. And we had an opportunity to think about how to support students who have a variety of needs, both academically, but also socially. And we were striving to meet those individual needs during the midst of this pandemic. I dont want us to lose sight of that once we return to the schoolhouse.

The future of urban education needs to be centered on individualizing education as much as possible for our students through a variety of modalities and ensuring that we can meet students and families wherever they are.

Right now in the performing arts, about 70%of our employees arent working. As we think about our world after the vaccine, were thinking really, really carefully about the smartest, most impactful decisions that we can make to further our missions.

Arts organizations will not come back with the same speed that they had before. So I think the artistic decisions that people make will think a lot more about the impact of that work on our audiences, and I think well think a lot less about entertainment.

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Life after the COVID-19 vaccine: Envisioning the 'new normal' - UChicago News

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