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  • 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 contagiousandMutation 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 sayexterminatebut 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 demandOh, and you have an outstanding parking fineAnd 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 becomesuspiciousfor 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 thenewly 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 crimepeople 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.

  • Thehavesdon't seem to care much about thehave 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 outProtests 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 youremember, 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.