9 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Daily Life as We Know It

Woman practicing social distancing
Photo by Anatoliy Karlyuk / Shutterstock.com

It was just a few months ago that we were ringing in the new year with resolutions and predictions for what the next 12 months would bring. At that time, no one imagined that our whole way of life would be turned upside down before winter was even over.

With the new coronavirus sweeping across the nation, here are nine ways it has changed life in the U.S.

1. Handshakes are taboo

Experts like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have been urging everyone to stop shaking hands in an effort to help stem the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

One WHO infographic says:

“Respiratory viruses can be passed by shaking hands and touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Greet people with a wave, a nod or a bow instead.”

In fact, publications ranging from CNBC to The Times of Israel shamed President Donald Trump for shaking hands with numerous people during the same March 13 press conference at which he declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic.

2. Anti-social habits are hip

You no longer have to worry about looking standoffish if you refuse to hug an acquaintance or decide to make a wide detour around a stranger on the street. In fact, such reluctance to interact is encouraged by the CDC, which says:

“Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”

As everyone tries to stay safe in the midst of the pandemic, anti-social behavior is not only acceptable but could also be lifesaving.

3. Home is the new weekend hot spot

There has never been a better time to be an introvert. Social distancing means you have a ready excuse for declining invitations and staying close to home.

Even if people want to go out, that’s hard to do in much of the country. States from New York to California have banned dine-in service at restaurants and bars. The screens at movie theaters owned by AMC, Cineplex and other companies have gone dark, and nearly all of the nation’s casinos — including those on the Las Vegas strip — are closed, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review Journal.

As if that didn’t eliminate most opportunities to go out on the weekend, residents in at least a dozen states have been ordered to stay in their homes except to complete essential tasks, in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Guess it’s a good thing some movie studios are allowing home streaming of current theatrical releases such as “Emma” and “Onward.”

4. Sneezes look different

Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze is nothing new, but please don’t tell us you’re still sneezing into your hands. That means germs are transferred from your mouth and nose to your fingers and palms — and, from there, to every surface you touch until you wash those hands.

The proper way to sneeze or cough, according to the CDC, is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and then throw that away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue handy, sneeze into the inside of your elbow instead.

5. Handwashing includes a song

Everyone should know to wash their hands after using the restroom or before eating. But in light of COVID-19, the government is reminding people to be more vigilant about doing this coronavirus-killing task properly and more often.

The CDC actually has a five-step process for proper handwashing that starts with wetting your hands, then working soap into a lather and scrubbing for 20 seconds. You should take care to wash the back of your hands, between fingers and under nails. Then, it’s time to rinse and dry using a clean towel.

To make sure everyone is scrubbing for the full 20 seconds, the CDC suggests humming the song “Happy Birthday” twice. Or if you want something peppier, the choruses of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Jon Bon Jovi, “Africa” by Toto or “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo would work as well.

6. We’re obsessed with toilet paper

Hoarding hand sanitizer and cleaning products seems like an understandable reaction to a global pandemic. Piling up your cart with toilet paper doesn’t make as much sense and, yet, here we are. Online reports abound of store shelves cleared of not only toilet paper but paper towels, napkins and tissues too.

It’s not clear why people became so obsessed with buying toilet paper at the start of the coronavirus crisis. There’s no reason to think manufacturers will be unable to make more. However, the empty shelves at stores across the country are probably what continue to fuel the buying frenzy.

7. Telecommuting is in

In order to keep people safely separated as well as meet requirements of government shelter-in-place orders, many companies have transitioned employees to remote work. Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are a few of the businesses that have either encouraged or required their workforce to do their jobs from home.

For workers, that can mean adjusting to new routines and technologies, such as virtual meetings.

8. We’re all home-schoolers now

It isn’t just workers who are staying home. Tens of millions of students have been affected by school closures across much of the country. In fact, as of this writing, school is only in session in a handful of states.

The response from school districts has been varied. Some are shifting to online instruction while others are opting against it, citing concerns about being unable to meet federal mandates that require they provide equal educational opportunities to special needs children at home.

Regardless of the approach of the district, many parents have found themselves scrambling to try to fill their children’s days with something more than Netflix and video games.

9. Sunday services are now held at home

Sunday worship services have been another casualty of COVID-19. Many churches have halted their weekend services in response to government recommendations to limit large gatherings. Some, such as Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, are livestreaming their services instead. However, a few congregations continue to defy government orders and say they won’t stop meeting in person.

How has the coronavirus changed your life? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean
9 Items Under $25 That Will Keep Your House Clean

We’ve rounded up some of the best products for cleaning your bathroom, kitchen and every other room.

7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales
7 Things You Should Buy at Estate Sales

Here’s what an experienced estate sale shopper considers a great find.

7 Steps to Keep Your Car Looking Like New
7 Steps to Keep Your Car Looking Like New

Take a few steps to preserve the beauty of your car, and you stand to get a lot more money at trade-in time.

These 12 Reusable Products Save You Money Over and Over
These 12 Reusable Products Save You Money Over and Over

Buy reusable versions of these household items, and you won’t have to spend another dime on them for years.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination
This Simple Mistake Might Weaken Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Avoid doing this before you get vaccinated.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic
11 Products Now in Short Supply Due to the Pandemic

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently
10 Things Successful Retirees Do Differently

These habits and characteristics can help put you on the track to success.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.