Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles We are sure a few of you have thought at some point this year, “I can't wait for 2021.” 2020 wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs for most people. We won't even go into biblical fires, floods, famine, and swarms of hungry locusts, Covid-19 was a good enough reason for most people to admit that 2020 wasn't their favorite year to date. You didn't have to get the virus to hate the damn thing. Maybe it robbed you of work. Maybe it drove you half crazy trying to fully understand it. Maybe it made you anxious and depressed as it did for millions of others. Maybe after lockdown, you looked at your protruding belly and almost thought you were pregnant. Let's face it, we can all take something negative from the pandemic. The question is, can things get any worse? Could 2021 be a kind of horror sequel to 2020? Do you remember that tagline from the movie Jaws? “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…” “Let's imagine the movies: “2020: The Year of The Pandemic.” And the sequel, “2021: The Beginning of the End.” Maybe you're now thinking. “No, no way, no damn way will next year be worse than this. Things couldn't get any worse.” We are sorry to inform you, but things could always get worse. Now you need to hear how things could really go down the pan in '21. It goes without saying that if no Covid-19 vaccine is released and available to the public at large next year then deaths could continue to spiral, and lockdowns could carry on destroying economies and wrecking families. As we write this, there's news about a vaccine and it is positive news. Preliminary trials suggest it works, but it's early days. Also as we write this there has been a huge spike in Covid daily deaths. What if the virus mutates into something worse? Is that even possible? According to Nature magazine, one of the better science resources out there, the virus has been mutating. We'd tell you exactly what a well-known virologist said about that, but for 99 percent of you, it would sound like scientific gobbledygook. In simple terms, yes, the virus has mutated. The good news is scientists came out and said the media exaggerated that. You can go online and see the numerous news stores with headlines saying things like, “Mutation more contagious” and “Mutation more deadly.” that might not be true at the moment, but fact is, this virus could get worse next year. It's unlikely, but it definitely could happen. In November, a group of scientists was asked to predict what the state of the pandemic would be in '21, and, you guessed it, they had no idea. One scientist at Yale said the Pfizer vaccine looks promising, but he also said even if the vaccine passes more trials with flying colors it will take many months to get people vaccinated. Covid will not magically disappear, well, it likely won't. Viruses have been known to peter out in the past, but we might have another year on our hands. Another scientist said it won't be enough just vaccinating certain groups of people, i.e. those most vulnerable. In other words, we aren't going to solve the Covid problem just because we most likely have a vaccine that will stop Covid in its tracks for 80 percent of those that are given it. More virus casualties are only a possibility, but what's almost certain is the chaos that will happen next year because of global lockdowns. The fall-out from lockdowns is very real. Some astute investors, COVID-19 contractors, tech folks, and vaccine makers might be getting incredibly rich as the sun shines down on empty streets, but the vast majority of folks have been hit hard by the pandemic. It might be bad now, but what about next year? It's hard to say just how many people have lost their job due to lockdowns. As we write this, the Guardian says 670,000 jobs have been lost in the UK since the start of the year. Spain, a country that is very reliant on tourism for its economy, is said to be the hardest hit country in Europe. In Thailand, it was reported that a million people working in the tourism industry lost their job this year, and they had no help or hardly any help from the government. OECD statistics show a massive economic decline in many countries. The Pew Research Center said in September one in four U.S. adults had trouble paying their bills since the outbreak. It also reported 25 percent of people said that someone in their house had lost their job. 50 percent of them found another job, but the other half were still unemployed. Ok, so these statistics are going to change a lot, but one thing is for sure, there will no more magic wands available. Millions and millions of people around the world are going to face hardship and debt next year. Covid poverty is very real. We might see how these hardships manifest next year. We already know that in the U.S. suicide hotlines have been busier than ever this year. Worried about the effect stress has on the body? Yep, it negatively affects the efficacy of the immune system. That might translate into more health problems next year. In the U.S. there is already a drug addiction problem that is frankly out of control. The question is, with all this job loss, stress, and depression, do you think 2021 will see positive results regarding addiction? Listen to this excerpt from a research paper that was published in July: “According to a recent study from the Well Being Trust, the high levels of stress, isolation, and unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic could cause up to 75,000 'deaths of despair' related to drug, alcohol, and suicide.” What a bleak-sounding phrase, “deaths of despair.” That 75,000 by the way only relates to the USA, a country with some social safety nets. As for suicides, we're not going to bother citing all the news media and studies. Look for yourself, thoughts of suicide and actual suicide have increased in many countries. So, if you were the kind of person to gamble, how much money would you put on 2021 being a bumper year for addiction, suicide, ill health, and mental illness? What about crime rates? We already know this year the murder rate went through the roof in some big cities in the U.S., but do you think this will be a trend in 2021? What about domestic violence? What happens when you upset the flow of drugs and gangs struggle to get their cut? It's too early to say just how crime rates will be affected by lockdowns, but so far the outlook isn't good. Covid has created a perfect storm and we don't think anyone will disagree. The question is how bad will the storm be. Maybe it will fade away and not be half as bad as some people think, or maybe it will be far worse; a real home wrecker. 2021 could be the year that crime goes through the roof. Maybe some people already know this in the U.S. because gun purchases drastically increased this year. Ok, so far we have mass job loss. As a result of this, we have stress. We also have depression and debt. We might well see more drug and alcohol use, and we may see surges in crime. Is that it, the end of this show? We're not even close to finishing. Things could get a lot worse. Imagine this scene: It's July 2021, and you've just gone out to Walmart to pick up a gift for your aunt's birthday. You walk through the doors and before you can get far a robot that looks like a mini-version of those Doctor Who Daleks approaches you. It doesn't say “exterminate” but says: “Do not enter. Go straight back home. You are currently in violation of clause 6.0606 of the enhanced freedom to not do much law. Do not ignore this demand…Oh, and you have an outstanding parking fine…And we also know about that sketchy website you visited at 2.38 pm last week.” We're just kidding of course, but privacy advocates around the world are right now very concerned about new surveillance technology and how it will be used, or perhaps, abused. We already have facial recognition cameras that can tell if you have a high temperature. We already have drones and robots that move around public spaces and tell you what to do. These things might help in a time of crisis, but is there a chance that this technology will create a kind of dystopia we've been seeing in sci-fi movies for a while now? Some of the biggest human rights organizations this year came out and said they were worried governments might use the pandemic as an excuse to curtail our freedom. When governments enforce restrictions on our freedom they usually stay, and 2020 is just a warm up for 2021. If this virus doesn't go away, perhaps in 2021 we'll be tracked and traced to the extent that we start to feel our freedoms have diminished. Will next year usher in police states around the world? We've already seen how governments spy on us without telling us, but could things get a lot worse? As the American Civil Liberties Union wrote, maybe after they've watched you outside and in your home and on the web, you'll become “suspicious” for the vaguest of reasons. This is what was said in a letter that was signed by more than 300 leading academics this year: “We are concerned that some 'solutions' to the crisis may, via mission creep, result in systems which would allow unprecedented surveillance of society at large.” China is already a surveillance state that is criticized in the West, but don't be surprised if in 2021 western countries adopt the China monitoring model. Welcome to the new normal, aka, “1984”, a true story by George Orwell. And for our viewers in China, well, we know you can only watch our show via a proxy, since Youtube is banned there, but just know that you're in our thoughts. And what about that necessity we call food? During the height of the pandemic, the New York Times reported that food banks across the U.S. couldn't meet the demand of the hungry. “Demand for food assistance is rising at an extraordinary rate,” said the newspaper. Will this suddenly go away in 2021? We doubt that. You can go online and read about food queues stretching for miles, and that's not only in the U.S. The Guardian reported in November that there was an emerging group of people in the UK, what it called the “newly hungry.” These were mostly desperate middle-income families, not only poor families. So, think about it, economies probably won't just go into hyperdrive in '21; jobs won't all just come back since so many businesses have gone for good. Get ready for a new normal of food banks popping up all over the place next year. Experts also think homeless rates will rise next year. In the U.S., the Coalition for the Homeless said there will be a “tsunami of evictions” if people don't get help from the government to assist them to pay their rent. This help will have to be ongoing if it's to work. Right now in the U.S., there's an eviction moratorium to protect people, but that's only in place until December 31st. One expert predicts mass evictions at the beginning of the New Year. What an awful comedown that would be after the celebrations. Let's also remember that while a lot of our viewers come from the U.S., millions of people who watch our shows come from countries that have very threadbare safety nets in place for people who've hit financial rock bottom. What if people don't get the help they need? If you walk down some streets in LA or city centers in UK cities, you'd think those two countries belonged to the developing world, or worse, post-apocalypse nations. The homelessness problem is insane, and it could get much worse next year. The Washington Post wrote in September that hundreds of millions of people were on the brink of starvation because of the pandemic. Oxfam wrote that the world should be prepared for a “hunger pandemic.” Other organizations are warning off mass starvation in poorer nations that are already suffering from endless conflicts and agricultural chaos. The World Bank estimated in 2020 that by 2021 there will be 150 million more people living in extreme poverty. Maybe you think this won't affect you, but when chaos flaps its wings on one side of the world it usually has a way of affecting the other side of the world. This is happening now, but what if millions of people do start to face starvation? What can be the upshot of that, besides dying or ill-health? Well, one thing that might happen is people start looking for a populist despot to get them out of the fix. More conflicts could break out, more war, more desperation!... if history has taught us anything, it's that that's always a recipe for disaster. If wealthier nations start seeing more people without enough to eat what might be the consequence of that? More desperate voters rallying behind the banner of a despot, more honest people turned to a life of crime… people will do anything to survive. Not enough food in 2020 could mean devastation in 2021. America's infamous prison industrial complex is probably getting ready for a big expansion. Could it get any worse than that? Yes, of course it could. Right now, we are seeing very divided countries in terms of politics. Conservatives are constantly arguing with liberals and it seems no side will back down. The “haves” don't seem to care much about the “have nots”. The latter is asking who has got my back? The former cares less about poverty than it does about who said what on Twitter. Just look online and check out “Protests 2020.” It's been a big year for disagreements. This could of course lead to progressive change and we all might live happily ever after. Maybe in the long run, anyway. But what if all this division leads to larger protests that turn into violence that manifests as a civil war? Something has to give. There has to be a middle ground or 2021 could be a very ugly year. Let's not forget that people genuinely fight for causes, but when you throw in mass unemployment and hunger, sometimes anger comes ahead of reason. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to have cash in 2021, but that doesn't mean you won't suffer. Travel research showed that during lockdowns in 2020 people were gunning to get out of their country and travel. But what if that can't happen next year? What if borders don't open? What if to travel you have to navigate so much red tape it's just not worth the trouble? That will mean another year in the same place, watching the same disaster news, wondering when you'll ever be able to escape. Ok, so this is all very grim, but remember it's a worst-case scenario show. Don't worry, soon we'll turn all this on its back and give you a best-case scenario show. We hope we haven't depressed you…remember, things could always be worse. And if you need a littler silver lining, Keeping Up With The Kardashians will have its final season in 2021.