We were taken by surprise in March of 2020 when suddenly the entire world shut down amid the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since that time, we’ve undergone wave after wave of infections, the spreading of variants, and a culture that can’t decide between mask-wearing or vaccination. But regardless, the pandemic has drastically altered and reshaped the way we work, play, live, and communicate across the globe.
Beyond the obvious changes, the pandemic has significantly changed the face of many industries and their day-to-day operations. And this isn’t limited to healthcare or the hospitality and tourism industries. The fact is, COVID-19 has changed everything we knew of as normal, and the changes are still continuing.
Change is the only constant force in the universe. And in a changing universe, change itself remains an unchanging truth. COVID-19 made sure we were all aware of this universal fact.
We’ll outline 7 of the ways that COVID-19 has changed our lives,
even some that you might not have noticed.
The world of sports has endured quite the change. Fortunately, as the world is back on the up and up, companies and organizations alike can order their company-branded stadium blankets and show them off at actual games in person… Obviously, it wasn’t always like that.
After the rise of COVID-19, sports venues across the world shut down. And this is a billion-dollar-a-year industry that suddenly came screeching to a halt.
With the halting of sports play, numerous other industries were also affected. This included the sports betting industry which takes in millions of dollars per day across the country. And in addition to this, numerous sports medicine professionals, personal trainers, team staff, and even the fans were all affected by the shutting down of sporting events.
Restaurants & Bars
Perhaps one of the most significantly affected industries was the food and beverage industry. No matter where you live across the country, chances are you’re within a short distance to a variety of restaurants and bars. And nearly every one of these was forced to shut down during the onset of the pandemic.
The food and beverage industry is in the top 3 of the largest employment sectors in the country, with fast food operations employing nearly 5 million individuals as of 2021. And add this to the 3.2 million workers in single location full-service restaurants and you have the largest industry in the country.
With so many people out of work, this puts a massive strain on state and federal funding programs such as unemployment benefits, SNAP, and many other social programs.
Hotels & Tourism
Many small towns and regional areas look forward to the tourist season every year for the vast amount of revenue that’s generated from people traveling and taking vacations. But this all came to a halt in the spring of 2020.
When the pandemic struck, many smaller hotels and motels closed their doors. But, they didn’t really have to as they were considered essential services. However, hotels found that whatever bookings they had during March vanished quickly as the pandemic gained momentum.
Our hotel chains across the country did prove useful with the massive need for healthcare workers to travel during the pandemic, which is how many smaller chains remained in business.
Of all industries, impacted the most by the COVID-19 pandemic was the healthcare industry. As hospital beds filled up across the country, many nurses and doctors found themselves infected with the virus as well, and this caused a massive issue that put even greater strain on an inundated healthcare system.
Today, the healthcare industry is still in recovery mode from the pandemic. Hospital beds are full in some places, while in others, there aren’t enough healthcare workers to check on patients in a timely manner.
Due to this strain, virtual doctor visits became a necessary tool for treating those who didn’t have access to healthcare.
Not surprisingly, the transportation industry also took a major hit during the pandemic and one that has still left the entire industry on damage control as of 2021.
Across the globe, public transit was halted altogether in most locations. And this not only affected city bus systems and railways. It also affected air travel, the shipping of goods across state lines, local cab drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers, and any other mode of transportation that you can think of.
Still affecting the world markets today, the global supply chain has suffered a major hit that has forced prices to rise across the globe. And this is simply a side effect of a transportation system that was affected in numerous ways.
When the pandemic struck, this halted the production of many goods. And this subsequently left many people without goods to transport, thus leaving many supply chain personnel out of work.
And this effect has reverberated across the country and the globe, evident in the high prices and empty shelves we see on grocery stores across the country.
Oil & Gas Production
Of all things to take a major hit, oil and gas production took the worst. And this happened largely because hardly anyone was traveling during the better part of 2020.
The demand for oil dropped sharply, so the production of oil was slashed in half. And now that demand is back up, the supply cannot meet the demand, thus making our prices at the pump rise every other week.
It’s estimated that gas prices could get as high as 3.50 per gallon as a national average before they start to recede.
A Post-Pandemic World?
The question arises after all we’ve seen over the last two years; are we in the post pandemic phase?
The answer, unfortunately, is “not yet” according to experts in the fields of virology and pandemic studies. In fact, many experts believe that we’ve entered an endemic stage, where we haven’t eradicated the virus and we simply have to live with it for the foreseeable future, much like the common cold or the flu.
But the communal decisions that we all make collectively and as individuals will ultimately make the most significant differences, if we’re to survive this chapter of human history.