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COVID Consequences - 5 Surprising Ways The Pandemic Has Affected Australia

When we talk about the pandemic, we’re often limited to a set of key talking points – lockdowns, border closures, travel bans, vaccines, contact tracing, and the like. However, the true effects of the virus have spread far further and sunk far deeper into our lives than many of us realise. Let’s take a look at five surprising ways the pandemic has altered daily life in Australia:

1. We’re getting healthier

The sale of medical supplies in Australia for home use has gone up, and research has revealed that our focus on health and nutrition has skyrocketed. These changes have held steady, even as we got used to living with the viral threat.

Research conducted by Woolworths found a 45% increase in the consumption of home-cooked meals, a 33% increase in the purchase of fresh fruit and veggies, and a 60% rise in the sale of plant-based protein options.

2. Younger generations are getting more conservative

The old stereotype of conservative parents trying to get their carefree kids to be more moderate with their spending has been flipped on its head by the pandemic. According to recent research, Gen Z and Millennials – who make up 40% of the Australian population – have been cutting back on spending far more than the older generations. The researchers found that these new spending habits are due to the fact that they have been disproportionately affected by job cuts and income loss, leaving them with little choice but to tighten up on spending.

3. We’re more interested in local products

Though we’re perfectly aware that there’s no risk of catching the virus from imported goods, and though online shopping has risen greatly during the pandemic, it seems Australians have developed a desire to keep their purchases within the country wherever possible.

According to Dr Wendy Umberger – professor of agriculture and food economics at the University of Adelaide – 46 per cent of consumers reported that buying locally made products had become more important to them since the pandemic took hold.

The main focus of this desire for Aussie-made goods is food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables. Though there is also a touch of nationalism worked in, this mostly comes back to our first point above – Australians are getting healthier, and there’s a perception that locally-grown food is of a higher quality.

4. The population has redistributed

Australia was once a vast land in which most of the population resided in concentrated capital cities. However, the pandemic has triggered a massive population shift. With the rise of remote work, many people took the opportunity to relocate to the outer suburbs, and in many cases even remote towns.

We still don’t have a clear picture of the way work will be structured after the pandemic. It’s possible, if not likely, that remote working may become the new normal. However, if the vaccines work and promising new treatments for COVID-19 are made available, it’s possible that we may return to older models. This could trigger a “boomerang effect” in which the exodus from the capital cities reverses. Only time will tell.

5. Community spirit grew

Despite the social isolation necessitated by lockdowns, in many areas, the sense of community grew stronger in the wake of the pandemic. Of course, social isolation, depression, and anxiety were still a problem. However, many communities organised groceries for the elderly, stocked free community pantries for the less fortunate, and formed groups to ensure everyone was taken care of.

The pandemic will continue to affect the world in unpredictable ways. However, thanks to researchers like those referenced above, we’re able to gain an understanding of these curious new trends.

Business Daily Media