Life has changed significantly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Our routines have changed, our ways of interacting have changed and our pastimes have gone from having drinks at bars and dinners at restaurants to watching videos on how to make bread with the ingredients you have in your pantry.
To say we’re living in a completely different manner than we were just a few months ago would be an understatement. Daily life has changed vastly from what we once knew, especially for the survivors of this pandemic. Tap or click here to see stories of life after coronavirus.
Luckily, we’re all in this together, and many of the changes we’re all experiencing are universal. From switching out our credit cards to digital payments or mourning the loss of sports across the globe, here are 10 ways life has shifted.
1. Credit cards are gone — it’s all about digital payments now
The days of swiping your credit card at a store to pay for your purchases are long gone for many of us, at least for now.
For one thing, more of us are shopping online than ever. In April, online retail numbers surpassed last Black Friday every day.
When you’re ordering groceries from a local market for pick-up, you’re likely using a digital payment method to complete the transaction in the ordering system. If you’re ordering a new pair of jeans, you’re doing so online and using a digital payment method to pay for those, too.
Apple Wallet and Paypal accounts have never gotten as much attention for real-life purchases. Why swipe when you can just hold your phone over the reader? Need help setting up digital payments? Tap or click here for a comprehensive how-to.
2. Do you travel for business? Not now.
Coronavirus threw a major wrench in non-essential travel. The toll it’s taken on business travel is especially evident.
How much has it changed over the last few months? Quite a bit. According to a recent article from Forbes, travel service providers and travel management companies across the globe “are losing out on an estimated $122.5 billion a month as a result of corporate decisions to keep all or nearly all off their road warriors at home.”
That’s a massive amount of lost revenue — and a massive amount of money being saved by cash-strapped companies. Experts don’t expect the business travel slump to last forever, but as of right now, most business travel is being pushed back — in some cases, indefinitely.
3. Families who are apart have found new ways to communicate.
If you’d conducted a poll a few months ago, chances are that many people would have been using Zoom, FaceTime, Skype or one of the many other video conferencing platforms to chat with their loved ones. For business, sure, but for catching up with family?
Fast forward to May 2020, though, and it’s a commonplace practice. Tap or click here for a comparison of all the popular video conferencing platforms.
Whether you’re using Zoom to call your grandparents in nursing homes down the road, your college-aged kids in other states or countries, or family members a few cities away, the way that we communicate with each other has changed drastically.
If that sounds a bit, well, depressing, don’t get too down. You will, at some point, get to hug your loved ones in person. But for right now, many families have decided it’s safer to communicate via technology rather than risking an in-person visit.
4. Fitness is happening at home, not at a gym.
Remember the good old days of waiting your turn for the rowing machine at the gym? It seems like so long ago. It’s actually only been a couple of months since gyms across the nation were closed to help flatten the curve, but those couple of months hardly got in the way of workouts for fitness-focused people.
Even as gyms start to reopen, many people are sticking to workouts in their living rooms, garages, and makeshift home gyms.
This trend has led to a steep increase in workout equipment sales — by about 170%. It’s tough to find things like free weights or ellipticals.
Will people go back to working out at the gym in the post-pandemic future? Yes, and some already are. Gyms provide social stimulation along with that hard-to-snag “smart workout” equipment.
5. Telemedicine has prevailed over doctor’s visits.
Telemedicine has become a way of life thanks to the high risk that comes with spreading or catching coronavirus from medical offices and other public places.
Certain telemedicine rules have been lifted or relaxed during the pandemic, which has made it easier to schedule virtual visits from the comfort of your own home. Need help finding a doctor? Tap or click here for tools that can help.
Virtual visits mean no in-person interactions with the patient, which eliminates the risk of a provider catching coronavirus from you — or the provider spreading COVID-19 to patients during in-person visits.
People are taking advantage of these e-visits in droves. Experts expect social distancing measures at doctor’s offices and hospitals will push telehealth interactions to 1 billion by the end of 2020, which is a huge increase from the start of the year.
6. Social distancing is everywhere.
We went from daily interactions with strangers, friends, coworkers and family to a set of rules that includes a 6-foot distance whenever possible. Social distancing is everywhere — in parks, on bike trails, in stores and in any other public space.
Even schools had to implement social distancing rules, with the majority of the country’s school-aged children finishing out the academic year in the safety of their own homes.
Things have started to get back to normal in the last couple of weeks, but it’s a slow progression from socially isolated to social distance with precautions. Only time will tell how this distance evolves.
7. We’re borrowing books online.
Most libraries are closed or restricted right now, so people visiting the library in other formats — digitally. We’re swapping paper books for digital copies, offered free of charge for patrons.
Is it the same as burying your nose in the creased pages of an old book? Eh. Not really. But e-books are a good backup.
Don’t have a library card? Tap or click for other e-book sources you can access right now.
8. People are answering their phones again.
Were you one of the many people who avoided phone calls like the plague prior to coronavirus? Chances are you’ve started picking up lately — perhaps even on the first ring — to interact in some way other than texting, email or video conferencing.
Texts are still a major method of communicating, of course, but hearing someone’s voice is just plain different.
According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, data shows people all over the U.S. are making more calls than they were prior to the pandemic. Carriers are reporting wireless minutes up as much as 39% over the average. Wi-Fi calling minutes have risen 78%, too.
9. Funeral services, weddings and graduations are being livestreamed.
If you have a senior in high school, you’re likely aware that some of the milestones in people’s lives — graduations, weddings and funerals — have flipped from in-person events to livestreamed events.
Even Facebook got in on the livestream action recently when it held a virtual 2020 graduation ceremony and featured major names like Oprah, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Garner and Lil Nas X.
The reality of today is a pretty big blow to the people celebrating their wedding or graduation or mourning a loved one, but livestreaming major life events at least means we don’t have to miss out entirely. Tap or click here to see a couple get the online wedding surprise of a lifetime.
10. There are no sports to go to or even watch.
If you’ve been mourning the loss of sports, you’re hardly alone. The world has been wiped clean of most sporting events, though there were a few soccer games recently without fans in the stands and other major leagues are in discussions to return later this year.
It will be some time before a stadium full of fans is on the table again, though.
This has led bored sports fanatics to compete in things like competitive marble racing to fill the void. Marble racing is not quite as exciting as, say, catching a baseball game in person or from your living room sofa — but in a world devoid of sports, it will do.
Bonus: Drive-in theaters are making a comeback
Drive-in theaters are making a comeback. It won’t soothe the burn from the other changes that have happened to our lives as of late, it’s a bright spot nonetheless.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, drive-in movie theaters were struggling to stay open. How many empty ones are there in your state? Drive-ins don’t offer the same screen and sound system amenities of modern theaters, after all.
Now, though, drive-ins give us a socially-distanced way to get out of the house. It’s the best of both worlds in the midst of a pandemic, and people are jumping on board.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.