This text is an excerpt from the Chapter “The Generation Zoom Classroom” published in the book “Aftershocks & Opportunities: Scenarios for a Post-Pandemic Future” by Fast Future Publishing. If you enjoy the text, feel free to read the full chapter and the entire collection of chapters, available on Fast Future Publishing’s store and on Amazon. Thank you for your support!
History Class, MLK High School, January 2037
“Let’s all turn our H-Story pads to page 183, where we left off last time.”
Sounds of virtual pages turned filled the classroom.
“As you might recall, to combat the spread of COVID-19, shelter-in-place was imposed in multiple States across the U.S., starting in March 2020 with California and New York. Unfortunately, while the measures did curb contamination and death rates, they remained insufficient to prevent the continued spread. The primary source of contamination were grocery shopping and healthcare facilities. Consequently, new regulations were put into place restricting days and times people could go shopping. Can anyone explain how it was established?”
“First, the elderly could enjoy dedicated timeslots – typically early morning,” ventured Rick from the first row. “Then last name became the main criterion, so families could go together”.
“Exactly! This new restriction, although not strictly enforced, did help. Numbers started to plateau a bit, and people got hopeful again. But then two independent events took place.
The first was the premature attempt to relaunch the economy, which had come to a halt almost overnight. Non-essential businesses had to close, and the unemployment rate skyrocketed due to a combination of firings and hiring freezes. To avoid further deterioration of the situation, workers were incentivized to go back to work and minimal safety equipment was distributed in the workplace – masks, gloves, sanitizer. Shelter-in-place was eventually lifted in multiple States, and schools reopened before the situation had completely cleared.
Secondly, even before the vaccine for COVID-19 was manufactured, a derived strain of COVID emerged. Pharmaceutical efforts were redirected towards the development of a broad-spectrum multi-respiratory syndrome vaccine destined to protect from subsequent COVID variations. This, combined to the rushed reopening, had dreadful consequences, and infection rates and death toll reached new highs.”
Andrea paused to catch reactions from the audience, the so-called ‘generation Zoom’ or Zoomers. Despite being part of the boom in births following the onstart of the pandemic, they seemed oblivious to the dramatic events surrounding their conception.