The closures of economies led to the wiping out of smaller businesses. The effect was mass unemployment and the stranglehold by big box businesses. This created enormous anxiety amongst the working population in Western countries that were already living on the edge with a huge debt to income ratio. Yes there were governmental programs that offered financial assistance which was for many far less than the lost income. Yet in some cases money was doled out willy nilly to employees such as in the United States where part time workers received emergency aid amounts in excess of their part time wages for a short period. A gigantic wave of anxiety swept the working public. Yes, the banks were understanding initially then they moved in like sharks ripping the indebted into bloody shreds. Seems they failed to understand that you can’t draw blood from a stone.
Even the reopening of economies could not replace the jobs that were lost. Simply because the economy reopened did not mean businesses reopened. There was enough government money to power through to the end of the COVIDs but after the well ran dry by the time Virus # 26 started to rip through the globe in 2030 the government rescue taps were starting to turn off. The long-term effect was also the crippling of the concept of customer service as there were less employees around to offer it. The workers treated like commodities and brutally laid off decided to look elsewhere from their dead-end jobs where they were so poorly treated. And when economies started improving there was a massive shortage of labour in demeaning and low paying jobs.
A gigantic wave of mental illness roared through the working population. Anxiety was off the scale. Depression mounted. Suicides became a regular occurrence. Big Pharma in addition to its never-ending development of ineffective vaccines was raking it in with anti-depressants as amongst those hardworking people all hope seemed to have been robbed.
Extremism started its foundational growth initially with a whole series of “Fuck the Vulnerable” movements and then a similar “Fuck the 1 %” movement. Break-ins of the upper-class mansions were common and increasingly violent. There was a near coup in the United States in 2021 by right wing nationalists and extremists led by Kim Jong Trump. People started dressing down and selling off luxury cars to avoid being attacked. Biker gangs were employed by neighbourhood groups for protection. The 1% were quaking in their boots and were organizing themselves into “Save Capitalism Militias”. The WFH mentality now turned into a necessity as a trip downtown to the office invited armed robbery in metropolitan centres.
The 1% looked increasingly to the military for protection. Several Amazon warehouses in the United States were torched and firebombs lobbed at Walmart headquarters in the United States. But as the military had been largely reduced to due lack of funding and decimated because of its forced conscription into long term care facilities it looked as if a military coup to protect the 1% was not coming too soon.