An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. Photo: Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News

Barron: Will the world ever be the same again?

I’ve heard many people say that they can’t ever see themselves in a crowded room

I wonder whether the world will return to what it was before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

I never realized just how much I used to love going to see a new release in a movie theatre (even with the exorbitant prices they charge for popcorn and pop), checking out a cool band in a packed and humming nightclub on a hot summer night, or the ability to hop on a plane and be in a completely different part of the world within just a few hours.

Many of these freedoms have been taken away from us over the past year as we were mandated to stay home as much as possible, not be in large groups and wear masks in public buildings.

Now that there are numerous vaccines available, we are being asked by the authorities to be patient and continue to follow COVID-19 health protocols until everyone who wants to be vaccinated (hopefully it will be almost everyone) has had the opportunity.

RELATED: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

RELATED: Canadians answer what they think post-COVID-19 life will look like in new survey

But will our lives return to what they were before COVID-19 once that goal is reached?

Probably not.

I’ve heard many people say that they can’t ever see themselves in a crowded room with people should-to-shoulder ever again without a mask or some other form of protection on.

Others have said they don’t ever plan to fly in the close quarters of an airplane again, or take another cruise because of the close proximity of other (possibly plagued) people.

We always knew that diseases can spread when sick people breath on us, but the full extent of just how many minuscule water droplets actually come out of our mouths, and how far they can travel when they do, was not fully known to many of us until the pandemic began.

At the beginning of the health crisis, I watched a news program in which one person at a dinner table of six had a very thin and invisible coating of fluorescent moisture that could be seen only under a dark light placed in his nose and mouth area.

The six people sat around the table and passed the food and liquid refreshments back and forth to each other as they would at any meal time.

When dinner was over, the regular lights were turned off and a crew came in with dark lights to scan the room and the dinner guests.

The fluorescent moisture was everywhere.

The person it was first planted on had unknowingly touched his face many times during the meal, as all of us tend to do hundreds of times a day, and had spread the moisture from his hands unto the food bowls, plates, glasses and cutlery, and then it was transferred onto the hands and faces of the other guests.

Under the black lights, the scene looked like something from a horror film, with fluorescence covering the table and everyone around it.

It was not hard to see by this experiment just how easily a virus can spread through respiratory moisture.

It’s also jarring to listen to virologists say that we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had a pandemic of this magnitude since the Spanish Flu at the end of the First World War.

They say that, considering the steady growth of the human population on the planet and the close proximity many of us live in everyday, we should be getting hit by pandemics much more often.

That’s why the world will likely never be the same again.

Even after we’ve licked COVID-19, I expect the wearing of face masks will become routine for many in crowded places, even if they are not mandated legally to wear them.

I also believe social distancing will remain ingrained in many people’s minds, like those who told me they would never get on an airplane again.

Of course, people say a lot of things in the midst of a crisis that they probably don’t really mean and will forget about once the crisis passes.

But I think COVID-19 has changed us in fundamental ways, and we’ll see the repercussions from it for many years into the future.

We’ll be living in a different world than the one we remember in 2019.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees in Oyster Bay

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

Naloxone is used to treat opioid overdoses. (Black Press Media files)
Island Health issues overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The advisory directs bystanders to an overdose to call 911 and administer naloxone

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote North Island logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

FILE - This Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, file photo shows the dashboard of the Tesla Model X car, at the company's headquarters in Fremont, Calif. Newer cars that connect to the internet are capable of collecting vast amounts of data about their drivers. Tesla Motors has used data to reveal, sometimes within hours of a crash, how fast the driver was going and whether or not the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Test of vehicle’s self-drive features mistaken for impaired driving

Campbell River RCMP warn busy roadway no place to check out a vehicle’s new features

A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Fire knocked down at controversial Port Alberni property

City is concerned about zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers

Prince Philip is seen here talking to Alex Rennie about platters of food presented by the culinary deparment at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) in 1983. (Courtesy of Alex Rennie)
Parksville man recalls meeting Prince Philip at what was then Malaspina College

Alex Rennie, a former culinary instructor, got to shake hands with royal visitor

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Most Read