Everything that follows is predicated on there not being a nuclear war, or even a conventional World War III, in the next few weeks.
With that somewhat important proviso, the new normal is rushing towards us.
From tonight, New Zealanders abroad can return home from anywhere in the world and be treated exactly the same as the rest of us. If Covid-positive, they'll be expected to self-isolate. If not, they can go about their lives as soon as their plane lands.
With perhaps a million Kiwis abroad thinking about at least a quick visit, it makes little sense for the same rules not to be soon extended to tourists, foreign fee-paying students, migrant workers, business partners and anyone else who wants to visit.
The Prime Minister and her adviser Sir David Skegg argue that we should still apply our current cautious approach to foreigners, mainly, says Skegg, "because we haven't reached the peak".
Jacinda Ardern concurs, saying "welcoming home New Zealanders will have a minimal impact, but we do want to be careful about tens of thousands of travellers in a week right when we are managing this part of the outbreak".
That's clear political signalling that remaining border controls will go very soon after we reach the peak, forecast to be in the next fortnight. Australians will surely be allowed in by the end of March, given the economic and diplomatic importance of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.
But there's no real public health reason why any other tourist shouldn't be able to come to New Zealand when the New Zealander they live with or work next to in London, New York or Shanghai can. Right now, New Zealand represents a greater risk of Covid to most foreigners than they do to us.
The Government will soon find it politically and perhaps even legally impossible to maintain the current ban on foreign arrivals.
The clearing of Parliament's grounds and surrounding areas means the Government can also move to ease vaccine mandates without being accused of bending to the violent rabble that the police so professionally dealt with on Wednesday.
The High Court's judgment in the police and Defence Force case underlines that mandates are a big deal and have to be supported by good reasons. With 95 per cent of eligible people double-vaccinated, and 72 per cent already boosted, it will become more difficult for employers to make that case to the courts, and the Government to voters.
The Government's track and tracing system fell over after just a few hundred daily cases and its PCR testing capacity at about a thousand. They won't be part of the new normal.
After the current price spike caused by bureaucratic incompetence, RATs will soon be ordinary low-cost supermarket items found alongside the Panadol, Tampax, Gillette and Rexona in the toiletries aisle.
As with everything else, Foodstuffs, Countdown and The Warehouse will do an incomparably better job than the Ministry of Health and MBIE at making sure stocks don't run out.
That's good, because it's likely Covid will be with us for some time, based on the experience in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
Since late last year, those states have given anyone who has bothered to look — which seems not to include the Ministry of Health — a fairly good indication of what's ahead in New Zealand a couple of months hence.
The Australian experience currently suggests Covid cases don't return to their pre-Omicron levels when the peak is passed. Instead, after falling quickly off their peaks in mid-January, new daily cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths in Australia appear to have settled at roughly a quarter of the highest seven-day average point.
Even were New Zealand at its peak today, we should assume the new normal involves thousands of new daily infections and dozens of people with Covid in hospital for the foreseeable future. But very few will die, even if the authorities continue to count people who are murdered, killed in car crashes or are diagnosed with stage four lung cancer as Covid deaths because they test positive posthumously.
The new normal will, as the Prime Minister says, require a much higher vaccination rate for influenza this season, with New Zealanders having built up no immunity to that winter killer in the past two years. The Beehive has walked back suggestions that the Covid traffic lights could be used against the flu.
Culturally, the new normal will involve better standards of workplace hygiene, at least while Covid is still fresh in people's minds. Johnson & Johnson will no longer tell us to use Codral to soldier on.
It will be socially unacceptable to sneeze, cough or have a runny nose at work or in public. Mask use will fall from current rates but not be seen as odd. For those who can, working from home will remain commonplace, and employers will struggle to find legally enforceable reasons to require people to go into offices every day.
Public transport like buses and trains will be seen as riskier than before, relative to cars, bikes, scooters and walking. It would be wise not to break ground on more disruptive multibillion-dollar transport projects before seeing where post-Covid commuting preferences settle.
Humans are adaptable. We became used to lockdowns and other Covid restrictions within a few weeks in 2020. We will quickly experience the new normal as exactly that.
Covid will be something that's around, but will primarily be spoken of in the past tense as we debate what the necessary inquiries into the health, fiscal and monetary responses should conclude.
Again assuming no imminent World War III, climate change will return as the primary existential threat people worry about.
There will be a hangover in the form of inflation, higher interest rates and rising unemployment. The silver lining is that inflation will reduce the value of the $60 billion Grant Robertson borrowed over the past two years, even as the nominal cost of servicing rises.
Consequently, expect governments and central banks to let inflation go higher and stick around for longer than they currently pretend. It's politically safer to invisibly tax the poor with inflation and the middle class with bracket creep than to transparently raise marginal rates.
Ardern says she's looking forward to when we stop talking about Covid and return to chatting about the weather. She won't be so lucky. More likely, we'll soon be arguing about the price of cheese. That would be progress of a sort. Unless, as noted, Vladimir Putin decides to kill us all in a nuclear war.