There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed life as we know it. From the ways we work to the ways we shop and socialize (and don't socialize) with each other — almost nothing in our lives looks like it did at the start of 2020.
And while many of these lifestyle changes are undeniably for the worse, there have been a few big cultural shifts that are actually...good. So yesterday, Reddit user chowizard posed a question to the internet: "What positive impacts do you think will come from COVID-19?"
Here are some of the ways the world just might change for the better after this whole mess, according to users:
1."Companies (and schools) will not force people to come in when they are sick."
2."The new skills people have been learning. I’ve never even tried to plant anything, but I learned how to garden this year and now have fresh peppers and tomatoes."
3."My father has pulmonary fibrosis which is going to kill him in the next year or so. It’s a hereditary disease, which has affected three generations of our family in a row. You die from increased scarring of the lungs. Through research into COVID, there’s already a fuck-ton more understanding into the reversal of lung scarring and potentially a cure on the horizon — I might not die a slow and painful death (from this) after all! Yay."
4."It's already mitigated the stigma associated with working at home."
5."Honestly, I think (and hope) it's going to lower barriers to work for people with disabilities. Offices and buildings are supposed to be ADA compliant, but that's only a small part of it. Remote work holds promise and opportunity for a vast pool of talent who have been sidelined because they can't get to the interview or don't get the role because they showed up with braces or a wheelchair. It won't reach everyone, but I hope it'll reach many more people whose talent has been disregarded."
6."More help for people with disabilities. Online ordering, grocery delivery, food delivery...it’s been nice. Saves me energy when I can make an order for something and do a contactless pickup and they just put it in my car when I drive up. Not everyone has energy to spare for simple things like groceries or errands."
7."I’m hoping that bathrooms in restaurants will become completely hands-free. I hate that the pull side of the door is on the inside and usually there’s no paper towel dispensers anymore to use as a glove to touch the sink/door handles."
8."I think a lot of people are realizing how terrible some of their relationships have been, whether it be with employers, spouses, family, etc., and I think a lot of people are just taking a lot less shit from people."
11."I have started 'seeing' family more regularly online playing games I had no idea about (like Jackbox). It’s been fun and it never would have happened without the pandemic. Plus, older family members are bored and want to talk for literally an hour about mundane stuff. I’ve learned a lot about them that I’d never known my whole life."
16."People with the flu/cold wearing masks and taking precautions to not infect others. Seriously, pre-COVID I can’t explain the number of times I’ve seen people that were clearly sick, coughing, wheezing, and sneezing just carrying on about their lives like it doesn’t affect those around them."
17."Hygiene. I'm usually sick ALL the time, but I haven't been sick a day since lockdown. We've been opened back up for months now with social distancing and extra hygiene measures in place everywhere. It's stunning. My kids haven't been sick either. It's like a miracle. Who knew people's gross hands and spittle was impacting my life so much."
19."Honestly, since COVID, I really like the rule of extra space when waiting in line. Hated people just breathing on my shoulder while we were in line. Also hated strangers sitting next to me on an empty bus, and it’s stopped."
20."A slowing down of life — people finally rediscovering hobbies and interests."
22."Doctor appointments over the phone have been amazing for my chronic illness. It means if I'm having a flare and can't go to work, I don't have to waste energy driving to my GP to get a medical certificate when they've already got my full medical records as evidence anyway. It's also great that I now don't have to do a six-hour round trip to the city to see a specialist for 15 minutes."
23."Reduced carbon emissions, I guess from the lack of cars on the road."
24."Curbside cocktails. [In my city,] there’s been a general acceptance that walking around and drinking on the street is fine now. Grab a takeout cocktail from some random spot and then be on your way. I haven’t seen much abuse of it at all, and I’ve seen a lot of places doing cool mixes in these big Capri Sun–type bags."
25."My wife and I are really hoping outdoor dining sticks around here in California. We really enjoyed eating outside when we traveled through some of Europe and hope it sticks after the virus has passed."
26."The absolute joke of the American healthcare system being exposed thoroughly. I mean most people knew already, but it's a lot harder now to pretend it's anything but a shitshow that needs fixing."
27."I’ve enjoyed the bonding with my family. Normally, my husband and I work full-time and our 4-year-old son went to preschool. We decided to pull our son from school and we both work from home. I know everything is all crazy, but we’ll never get this time together again."