As we surpass three years since the start of COVID-19 lockdowns in America, Gregory Michael Steinberg notes that we are just starting to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on public health and public health the economy, society, and global relations. COVID-19 caused widespread illness and death and highlighted existing inequalities and disparities in society that have led to changes in how people work and interact with one another. Overall, the pandemic has had a profound and far-reaching impact on the world. Many people have had to make significant adjustments to their daily lives to comply with social distancing and quarantine measures.
While all changes have yet to reveal themselves fully, a few things are undeniable in the wake of COVID-19. For starters, more people are now working remotely than ever before. While the intention was originally to reduce the spread of the virus, business owners quickly realized that employees could be just as productive outside of an office structure. This has led to countless businesses closing down their buildings to reduce overall costs. While not all employees like working from home, evidence has shown that most people do, and they find they can maintain a better work-life balance with a remote work style. With initial concerns that people would work less, many employees work longer hours as they no longer have to commute.
Not only did the workforce shift to remote work, but many parents shifted to a homeschooling model in the COVID age. With lockdowns no longer in place, many families have decided to stick to homeschooling their children as they can provide 1-1 attention that students cannot receive in a traditional learning environment. Other students were moved to cyber schools where they could learn from home.
While people had access to programs like Zoom and Skype before the pandemic, video chatting services exploded in popularity during the pandemic. As people looked to remain socially distanced, these platforms made it possible to connect with friends and family from a safe distance. Even with lockdowns a thing of the past, people continue holding regular video conferences as an alternative to meeting up at coffee shops or other social settings. The business world has also continued to use video platforms more as a way for remote workers to remain engaged with one another. As businesses grew accustomed to these platforms, fewer people were traveling for work. Presentations can be made virtually, and businesses can all save money on traditional travel expenses.
People of all demographics turned to online shopping during the pandemic. With physical locations closed by retailers across the globe, people had to rely on online shopping for both essential and non-essential items. The result is people learned that they could trust online shopping for just about any type of purchase. Businesses that rely on foot traffic greatly struggled during the pandemic and continue to struggle as people are less likely to return to old shopping habits. This has caused a major shift in the commercial real estate industry as fewer retailers are looking for brick-and-mortar locations.
The healthcare industry was obviously greatly impacted by the actual COVID-19 virus, but there were two general health shifts as well, according to Gregory Michael Steinberg of Austin, Texas. The first being people had to get creative with their fitness routines. Gyms either closed or required a mask, turning away typical gym visitors. Companies like BeachBody and Peloton, which both require people to exercise from their homes enjoyed large sales boosts in the wake of the pandemic. New home workout products have flooded the market as people learned that they could maintain their fitness level without a gym membership.
Mental health awareness was spread much more openly during the pandemic. As health officials warned of the dangers of feeling isolated, more therapeutic services offered digital therapy sessions. People are social creatures by nature. Understanding that one can maintain social relationships while staying home has helped many struggling with loneliness. The pandemic also caused widespread stress and anxiety. The medical community has reacted by supplying additional support for mental health.
Overall, the pandemic has affected everyone differently, and people have had to find ways to cope with the changes and uncertainty in their own way. It’s important to take care of yourself and seek out support if needed.