The Effects of the Pandemic on Diverse Life Aspects
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, Americans have seen many ups and downs in their lives. Of course, it has been the scene worldwide. But let’s delve into what the US faced. Initially, people had widespread panic and anxiety, which escalated with economic hardship. Some businesses had to shut down permanently, while others lost steam. Amidst job cuts, families also had to go through a phase of isolation. It also devastated the healthcare system, with hospitals and healthcare staff getting overwhelmed due to the constantly rising number of infection cases. A higher fatality rate also added to the gloom.
Americans have been through a lot in the past few years. Fortunately, when the nation’s leaders from different walks of life (science, pharma, healthcare, etc.) rallied with the support from the government, it became possible to protect people from the deadly virus. It has been over two and half years, but this battle is on due to the highly mutating nature of COVID-19. Although BA.5 subvariant is not as nasty as the original one, it accounts for about 75-80% of cases in the US today. Even though the latest coronavirus wave is not as harmful, it has managed to draw attention, mainly because people thought this summer season would be easy for them. Considering all this, it makes sense to track things happening now and in the past under the COVID-19 stress.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the country saw 7 million new jobs in February 2020, accounting for 23% additional opportunities than the number of people who didn’t have employment. In February 2022, the number rose to 11.3 million jobs, which created two vacancies per unemployed individual. On the other side of the story, February 2020 saw a little more than 3 million people leaving their jobs, constituting about 60% of the population with no jobs. However, the trend changed when the coronavirus hit the nation. In April, only 2 million people had job separation in the same year, taking this specific index to an all-time low in eight years and forming only 18% of quitting.
One doesn’t know what had been the scenario in this area in the non-pandemic situation. But what is apparent right now is the higher quit rate in 22 years after spending 24 months into the pandemic. In April 2022, around 4.5 million people left jobs, causing the separation percentage to increase to 73%.
In the pre-pandemic period, almost 64 out of every 100 people were either working or hunting for options. However, after two months when COVID-19 was raging, the labor force participation rate declined to slightly more than 60%, which had not happened since 1971. After that, it improved by 2%.
COVID restrictions led to remote work culture, and as the rules eased and people got their immunity, employers wanted the workforce to join offices. Some people don’t want to return to the office because the new model is more favorable for them, while others feel workplaces should go easy with coronavirus restrictions if they want people to work from the office. In this context, it is interesting to look at a recent poll by MyBioSource that shows that nearly 60% of the survey participants opine that offices and public spaces should not be too strict about COVID rules.
School and college admissions
Schools (primary and secondary mediums) witnessed a decline in their enrollment. Between 2019 and 2020, the public schools faced a 3% drop in admissions. However, this metric took a drastic hit in the 2019 fall, accounting for a 66% drop, and the 2020 fall recording 55%. This impact was due to younger students (age 3 to 5) not going for admission. If you checked the situation with colleges, you would have noticed that the 2019-2020 fall saw a 4% decline in undergraduate enrollment as 15.9 million students didn’t opt for postsecondary education.
In the initial months of 2020 in the pre-pandemic time, spending on recreation, arts, and entertainment were USD $75.6 billion. As soon as COVID started, it fell by almost half, accounting for USD $37.6 billion. Presently, there is an improvement of 17%, though. Everyone knows that the hospitality industry faced the highest backlash due to the pandemic, losing almost 62% of its revenue. However, after the introduction of vaccines, things changed for this worst-hit industry as it closed its final quarter of 2021, generating USD $79.6 billion.
On a lighter note, a survey by Energy Information Administration shows that almost 56% of American homes used streaming services on one device in 2020 as against 2015, when it was only about 29%.
People appear to be less bothered about the new surge because they are tired of living a restricted life for almost two years. They want to lead a normal life again, which is a good sign. However, it’s critical to note that the virus has not disappeared. We have better protection, but no one is entirely immune yet. Hence, one must not downplay the risks and be safe.