Cultural changes ahead
In a few short weeks, we’ve seen adaptations to living in a world with COVID-19, a novel strain of the coronavirus that has become a global pandemic. Between skipping handshakes, keeping a safe distance from other people, and being (much) more diligent about proper hand-washing, we’re in the process of seeing what kind of impact the spread of the virus will have on our cultural, social and hygiene practices.
According to CJ Xia, a VP of marketing and sales at Boster Biological Technology, a biotech company based in Pleasanton, California, there were three types of people before the coronavirus outbreak: those who were extremely conscious, moderately conscious, and ignorant about germs. “Now the level of each category has risen, and it is difficult to find the third type of folks now,” Xia tells Reader’s Digest. “As a result, we have started seeing far less social interaction. [And] remember, when one thing is done again and again, then it becomes a part of muscle memory.”
Though it’s difficult to find a bright side to the coronavirus outbreak, one positive is that this period of global upheaval may change some of our less-than-desirable public-health habits – and improve our hygiene for good. It could also alter the way we approach work, school and so much more. Here are 13 everyday habits that could (and should) change forever once this crisis has passed.
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Handshakes will be out
One of the most visible changes to societal norms since the coronavirus has hit has been avoiding handshakes. “In this new era of the coronavirus and the practice of social distancing, there will undoubtedly be a cultural shift in the way we all greet one another,” Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, an internist and health expert, tells Reader’s Digest. “Shaking hands, high fives, hugs and kisses are modes of greeting to be abandoned at this point. Social greetings may now entail a hand on the heart, a head nod, or pretty much any action that enables one to avoid direct touch or contact.”
There will be more hand sanitiser available in public places
In the days post-coronavirus outbreak, we’re probably going to see more hand sanitiser made available in offices, public spaces and entertainment events. “For example, sanitisers would be placed at reception or outside interview rooms to make sure candidates’ hands are clean,” Xia says. “We would see sanitisers at the table of interviewers as well. It would no longer be rare. By placing such products around, everyone would be signalling to other people that their hands are clean.” And though many concert venues, stores and gyms already provide hand-sanitiser dispensers, we’re likely to see this expand to including more restaurants, churches and other establishments.