Life in the New Normal: Coronavirus Changes That Could Last Long After the Virus Has Gone
The world is currently living through the largest and most dangerous pandemic seen since the Spanish flu of 1918-19. While we all hope a vaccine appears soon and that life can return to normal, there are undoubtedly some measures that will be with us for many years to come.
Coronavirus spread quickly through the early months of 2020. Our interconnected world of global travel — coupled with Coronavirus’s high transmission rate — made the voracious spread of the virus almost inevitable. Indeed, the travel industry was the first to feel the economic effects of the virus with the mass shutdown of tourism in early March to slow infection rates.
In the months thereafter, Coronavirus has impacted every single aspect of our lives — from how we communicate to how we work and socialize. The question is, how many of these effects will be long term, and how many will pass as we gradually emerge from lockdown?
The importance of social media for communication
Through the pandemic, our use of — and reliance on — social media for communication has risen dramatically. While the physical distances between us increased, our use of social networks helped bring us closer together. Indeed, social media improved some of our relationships, particularly ones that sometimes go a little under-nurtured in usual times.
Videoconferencing has encouraged us to be in touch more with those around us, including friends we might not see that often in regular times. Indeed, many people have reported increased contact with their parents and grandparents through Coronavirus.
Increased societal care and conscience
One very positive aspect to come from the virus has been a greater sense of societal caring. The notion, “we’re all in this together,” struck a chord across the world as the virus continued to affect communities, indiscriminate of age, sex, wealth, or religious persuasion.
The effects of lockdown were numerous, but from a purely psychological point of view, care sectors across the world reported a marked spike in mental problems caused by the distancing measures.
Still, the virus has brought some positives, notably an increase in our general, societal concern for one another. Where once a simple, “how are you?” might have been merely a polite greeting, through lockdown, it took on more significance and became a genuine question of care and concern. In short, people got more involved with each other.
If nothing else comes from Coronavirus, let’s hope this general sense of societal awareness stays with us long past the days of lockdown and isolation.
The rise in working from home
One of the most significant changes to come from Coronavirus has been the rise in working from home. Almost overnight, workers were told to stop going into the office and instead prepare for teleworking.
While many struggled initially to get used to organizing their day, others fell into the role naturally. However, help was at hand with numerous online guides outlining productive tips on working from home and most employees are now accustomed to the freedom home working brings.
With the majority of employers reporting improved productivity levels and increased employee happiness, experts and analysts agree the concept of home working is here to stay and will last long after Coronavirus has passed.
Positive effects on climate and our environment
Through the pandemic, media reports documented the on-going positive changes to our environment. From the crystal clear water of the Venice canals to the Mumbai smog lifting for the first time in 15 years, the effects of lower pollution have been profound.
Indeed, our total CO2 emissions in 2020 have already been reduced by as much as 8%, in line with the targets of the Paris agreement. If we are to stand any chance of reversing climate change, we will need to maintain these levels.
While Coronavirus has undoubtedly disrupted the way we live, there are some positives to be taken from the last few months. Just like other pandemics before it, the virus is changing our world and our environment forever in many ways, for the better.