What Do We Do Now?

Covid-19’s ‘new normal’ is here; what’s it going to mean?

David Nicoll, Ph.D
8 min readOct 10, 2021


Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Last May, when the Coronavirus Pandemic was at its worst, I wrote the following three paragraphs to introduce a ‘Pandemic Anxiety’ article I was thinking of publishing.

“The 21st Century is barely two decades old. But already, it’s clear that this century is going to be one unlike any other we’ve ever known.

“Across the world, we’re at the beginning of a momentous transformation, an open-ended period of time during which the world as a whole will make the shift from a modern industrial society to a postmodern information society.

“For most of us, this transformation will be the challenge of a lifetime. If we choose to face up to the uncertainty that comes with this transformation and do what we can to learn what this new world is going to be all about, then perhaps the ‘winds of change’ will take us to places we never knew we wanted to go.”

Three Societal Ruptures

This article was based on four propositions:

  • Over the last twenty years, America has suffered three unprecedented tragedies: The 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, the great recession in 2008, and, in 2020, the biggest tragedy of them all, the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The 9/11 tragedy undermined our faith in the American Dream and our belief in America’s exceptionalism.
  • The 2008 recession undermined one of America’s fundamental democratic pillars; the proposition that “all people are created equal.”
  • 2020’s coronavirus pandemic undermined our confidence in America’s ability to secure its safety and its future.

Each of these tragedies was an early warning signal telling us that the shift the world is making from an industrial society to a postmodern information society has begun in earnest. And that this transformation will be marked by many more surprising, unprecedented ruptures like those in 2001, 2008, and 2020.

The first two tragedies notwithstanding, it’s now clear that America’s coronavirus pandemic is the rupture going forward that will be one of our toughest challenges. According to the experts, the Covid-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty in…



David Nicoll, Ph.D

I’m a dad, a reader, writer, and thought partner for individuals looking to improve their lives. My passion is learning and meeting this century’s challenges.