5 Grim Realities of Life After Coronavirus You Need to Come to Terms With
From how we eat to how we work, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it.
When it comes to the changes to daily life the coronavirus pandemic is foisting upon us, wearing masks and gloves to the grocery store and hoarding Lysol is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, according to many experts, the wide-reaching effects brought about by the pandemic will continue to change the fabric of our lives for years to come—in many cases, for the worse. With the help of experts, we've rounded up the grimmest lingering after-effects of the crisis. This is what the world will look like after coronavirus. And for more ways COVID-19 will change our lives, check out these 9 Things You'll Never See in Public After the Coronavirus.
Food shortages will affect the world for years to come.
Food insecurity has long been an issue in the United States and beyond, and food access is likely to continue to be limited long after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. While supply hoarding accounts for some of the bare shelves you're seeing at your local supermarket, supply and demand issues, as well as obstacles preventing food from getting to those in need—particularly in countries affected by war—mean that global food insecurity will only get worse in the near future.
"We are seeing the damage this health crisis has caused in minority communities, and in poverty-dense counties, especially because they are hard-pressed to find affordable healthy food, and become more susceptible to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension," says immunologist Leo Nissola, MD, a cancer immunotherapy researcher and COVID-19 investigator at the National Convalescent Plasma Project.
Just how bad will food shortages continue to be? In a statement to the United Nations, David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WPF), said, "We could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months."
You may never attend a packed concert again.
While folks who don't love crowds might relish the idea, those who enjoy the energy of a packed concert or amusement park may have to wait quite some time before things return to anything resembling normal.
"The fear caused by COVID-19 will take a while to dissipate, so many people will continue to avoid going out unless necessary, [meaning] crowded places will look less crowded," says Patricia Celan, MD, a psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University.
For the foreseeable future, many attractions will have a significant cap on visitors—Disney World will only operate at 50 percent capacity in stage one of the reopening and 75 percent capacity in stage two, while at Massachusetts' Barrington Stage Company, audience size will be reduced by two-thirds. And for more changes to prepare for, here are 10 Weird Ways Life Will Be Different After the Coronavirus Lockdown.
The team at your office will be cut dramatically.
You'll want to keep those Zoom meetings on the calendar even after your office reopens, because some of your coworkers won't be returning. "The prevalence of remote work during the pandemic indicates that working from home is feasible, sometimes even preferable for non-pandemic reasons, so this may become a more permanent option in certain careers," says Celan.
In many cases, those jobs won't be returning at all—according to a late April report from Bloomberg, the stateside job market alone could sustain as many as 30 million job losses.
For those who do return to work, the office environment may look significantly different, too: "Open offices will need to rethink [things] in terms of personal safety and space," says Nissola. And for more ways work will be different in the future, discover these 5 Things You'll Never See in Your Office Again After Coronavirus.
Your doctor may go out of business.
While medicine may have once seemed like one of the most recession-proof careers out there, the pandemic has proven otherwise. Despite the record number of hospitalizations due to coronavirus, many specialists are suddenly finding themselves out of work due to a combination of being unable to perform elective surgeries and budget cuts.
"Due to the shelter-in-place mandates, many single doctor practices are going out of business during COVID," says board-certified dermatologist Todd Minars, MD, owner of Minars Dermatology. "I personally know of an OB/GYN locally who is closing shop and looking for a job at a group now, because they got hit so hard with the closures." And before you see your doctor for an in-person visit, make sure you follow these 7 Precautions You Must Take Before Going to the Doctor Amid Coronavirus.
Kids will have their temperatures checked before entering school—and they won't go every day.
Your kids' school routine may be permanently upended by the pandemic.
In addition to wearing masks to class and being greeted at school by teachers doing temperature checks, many kids will no longer attend school on a daily basis, according to Cathy Wang, MD, advisor for Fruit Street Health and CovidMD.
"Schools will have 'shifts' where some kids will attend classes and others will do 'home schooling' via video, and recess will be staggered," explains Wang, who notes that children who do attend school will likely have to sit six feet away from one another in typically crowded communal spaces, like cafeterias, as well. And for more ways things will be different for the next generation, check out these 7 Things You'll Never See in Schools Again After Coronavirus.