4 Ways Coronavirus Could Change the World
Coronavirus has changed the world. You only need to turn on the news or even look out the window to witness this. But with no vaccine yet, how much of this is set to stay? And what cultural changes will come about from this new way of life? Below are four ways coronavirus could change the world.
1. Technology and cultural changes
Since the virus hit, many ways in which we do things have already begun to change. Nations are reacting quick and adapting to a new, altered way of living, and businesses have been quick to help us fill the gaps in our lives caused by social distancing and lockdowns. Connection-based apps such as Houseparty have become popular since lockdown, allowing users to connect with one another virtually, communicate and play games. “Home-made” content has been encouraged more and more on apps such as TikTok, Instagram and more. Various types of events are now being held virtually through the internet, including events that typically have never been done virtually before. For the first time since its inception, Eurovision was cancelled and was substituted with the performances ‘Eurovision Song Celebration’ and ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’.
Platforms such as YouTube are attempting to create a sense of ‘togetherness’ to everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning and exercising with their #AtHome campaign.
This new cultural shift has led to some interesting changes in trending videos. Today’s top trending videos on YouTube (19/05/20) are family and child orientated videos, aimed at keeping families and children active at home while making exercise fun, along with featured videos such as home cleaning videos to motivate people during lockdown.
2. Working environments could change
The work place is set to change, with concerns over hygiene, health and social distancing changing the way society functions. Taxi drivers have installed plastic screens between themselves and their passenger, stores have markers on the floor for maintaining 2m distance between shoppers, and discussions regarding open plan offices are arising.
In preparation for re-opening, office organisations are rethinking layout and jobs, with some organisations already recruiting for new roles such as Thermal Scanners and Elevator Attendants, and installing Plexiglas divisions. “Low-touch or no-touch fixtures will need to be added throughout the space. Buttons, door handles — anything that could become a hot point of contact among workers would need to be rendered touchless.” Says Business Insider.
3. Health care goes digital
With the nature of the virus forcing social distancing and with the capacity of healthcare strained by the influx of patients, coronavirus has created changes in the healthcare system. Many healthcare services have had to adapt and change, most notably by providing more online services, increasing accessibility during lockdown.
Alan Lowe mentions how coronavirus has proven the capacity to go digital. “…the health service has moved fast to support remote working, digital clinics, and virtual consultations during the coronavirus outbreak, and what that has done is prove that these things can be done.”
HealthCareITNews writes “In the space of weeks, primary care services in the UK have switched from 1.2 million face-to-face consultations a day to the majority being carried out remotely.” Demonstrating an increased capacity for digital health services in the UK, this development was fast tracked by the coronavirus but has proven effective and is likely to stay after infection rates drop and the lockdown restrictions are eased.
4. Consumer spending habits are set to change
In March, UK retail sales declined at the worst rate on recent record according to the BBC.
The pandemic and lockdown spells uncertainty not just for stores but also for the public, due to fears of the future of the economy and its stability. For many professions, working during lockdown was not an option. Research has shown that those who are self-employed in Britain have been hit worst by the lockdown. Naturally this has caused consumers to be more cautious with their spending habits. Sweden made the headlines with its controversial choice of refusing to lockdown, and although the country never formally went into a lockdown, it’s still unlikely to dodge the economic impact; “Data on the use of public transport, credit cards and restaurants show big falls in Sweden” writes the Financial Times.
“…the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have meant consumers are less inclined to spend more, with many expecting their household income to continue to fall in the coming months.”
The World Economic Forum breaks down the financial impact on industries around the world here.