COVID-19 descriptionEverybody is talking about COVID-19. And right we should. This is our Great Depression-Pearl Harbor-WW2 all rolled into one. It has done what neither 9-11-01 or the Great Recession could do: shut down America.

Did you see that Vegas’ Caesar Palace is closed…for the first time in its long history? Only COVID-19 could do that. But historians know that COVID-19 isn’t the first time America has been shuttered into economic instability, panic, fear, and death.

Killer events

Every technology generation has “killer” events between their 10th and 25th birthday that seeds their unique generational personality. The current COVID-19 crisis is the youngest generation’s first “killer” event.

These “killer” events often rearrange economic, scientific, social, educational, entertainment and religious institutions. They are usually war-or-terror related but can be anything that creates national fear and panic.

Generation break-out of killer events overlap

TRANSPORTATION-TELEPHONE GENERATION (b. 1900-1920): World War 1 (1914-1918), Spanish flu (1918) and Stock Crash/Great Depression (1929-1933).

MOTION PICTURE GENERATION (b. 1910-1930): World War 1 (1914-1918), Spanish Flu (1918), Great Depression (1929-1933) and Pearl Harbor/World War 2 (1939-1945).

RADIO GENERATION (b. 1920-1940): Great Depression (1929-1933), Pearl Harbor/World War 2 (1939-1945) and Korean War/Cold War (1950-1953).

VINYL RECORD GENERATION (b. 1930-1950): Pearl Harbor/World War 2 (1939-1945), Cold War (1950s)/Sputnik (1957), JFK’s assassination (1963).

TELEVISION GENERATION (b. 1940-1960): Cold War (1950s, 1960s), Sputnik (1957), JFK’s assassination (1963), Vietnam War (1960s), Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy assassinations (1968).

SPACE GENERATION (b. 1950-1970): JFK’s assassination (1963), Vietnam War (1960s-1974), Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy assassinations (1968).

GAMER GENERATION (1960-1980): Economic “stagflation” (1970s), Iran hostage crisis (1979-1981), AIDS (1981-), Challenger explosion (1986), stock market crash (1987), Gulf War (1990-1991).

CABLE TELEVISION GENERATION (1970-1990): Iran hostage crisis (1979-1981), AIDS (1981-), Challenger explosion (1986), stock market crash (1987), Gulf War (1990-1991), Oklahoma City bombing (1995), Columbine shooting (1999).

PERSONAL COMPUTER-CELL PHONE GENERATION (1980-2000): Gulf War (1990-1991), Oklahoma City bombing (1995), Columbine shooting (1999), Terrorist attacks (2001), SARS (2002), Great Recession (2007-2009).

NET GENERATION (1990-2010): Columbine shooting (1999), Terrorist attacks (2001), SARS (2002), Great Recession (2007-2009), Swine flu (2009-2010), Las Vegas shooting (2017), Parkland shooting (2018), COVID-19 (2020).

iTECH GENERATION (2000-2010): Great Recession (2007-2009), Swine flu (2009-2010), Las Vegas shooting (2017), Parkland shooting (2018), COVID-19 (2020).

ROBOTICS GENERATION (2010-2030): COVID-19 (2020)

Mega event every 80 years

Hidden among these “killer” events is also a MEGA EVENT that happens roughly every 80 years (4 generations). This mega event is usually a long period that changes America fundamentally. The last one was the Great Depression-Pearl Harbor-WW2 (1929-1945). The Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877) and the American Revolution (1765-1783) were previous “mega” events.

I believe that September 11, 2001, the Great Recession and COVID-19 will be eventually framed by historians as our MEGA EVENT. COVID-19 is going to transform how we learn, work, worship and shop. That is because it will likely not be our last coronavirus. What will we do NEXT YEAR or in two years when the next novel killer virus arrives? That’s right. We will do what we’re doing now…only better.

It is what makes our American story so fascinating.

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