The Next Pandemic

Matt Armitage
6 min readSep 7, 2020

A Guide to the 21st Century Workplace.

With billions of dollars in collective business interruption costs, will it be a surprise if companies decide that they can’t afford to go through this again?

Most of us are cresting some wave of coronavirus. For some it’s the first wave, for others, they’re paddling towards a looming second. At time of writing, there were even suggestions that the virus behaves more like a tsunami: an endless charging peak that is sustained and empowered by each subsequent wave that rolls across its surface.

So is now the time to be talking about the next pandemic? Certainly, there’s a significant body of research that suggests diverse zoonotic diseases are going to feature heavily on the playlist of our immediate future. Mers, West Nile Fever and Ebola are just three zoonoses we’ve faced down over recent years. A UN report published in July 2020 lays bare the potential risk our increased interaction with and proximity to wild animals poses. It identifies contributing factors including the increased demand for animal protein; a rise in intense and unsustainable farming; the increased use and exploitation of wildlife. Not to mention the climate crisis.

UN reports may not be typical breakfast reading, but with hundreds of millions of people working from home (WFH), if they’re lucky enough to be working at all, and actively doomscrolling their way through the working day, we’re suddenly reading the kind of information we’ve never needed to before. That novelty makes it doubly hard to sift through the noise. To separate information that is thoughtful and helpful from partisan screeds designed to uphold some political or economic point of view.

It can sometimes feel as though we’re being held hostage by two opposing teams, each of whom lays claim to our unyielding support, making it harder for us to figure out if this is a blip or a major re-ordering of society. It casts complicated issues as binary choices. Black and white. Right and wrong. Red or blue pill. And in doing so it vastly underestimates both the question and the intelligence of the audience.

Society will change and adapt.

Society will change and adapt. If we create a vaccine, if the virus doesn’t mutate, then bars and clubs and shops…

Matt Armitage

When I grow up I want to be a futurist. Broadcaster, writer, consultant and speaker. Host of MSP on BFM89.9. Listen & read at