What online services will remain after the pandemic?
Recent public opinion research suggests that a limited number of Americans are likely to continue to use online services put in place during COVID-19 restrictions.
In 2020, many dailies routines went online including schooling and office work. Food delivery services, online activities, telecommuting and telemedicine have become more normal. Many services have been created, redesigned or popularized during the pandemic. Some services, such as online shopping and video conferencing, were widely used before the pandemic.
But researchers from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research wanted to know if the new online services would remain popular.
The study found that less than one in three Americans said they were very likely to use new online services at least occasionally.
The study found that nearly half of adults in the United States said they were not likely to participate in online or virtual activities or receive virtual healthcare. Americans also said they weren’t likely to use food delivery or pick-up services after the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly half of respondents said they want virtual choice for health care, community events, exercise or religious services to continue after the pandemic.
Donna Hoffman is director of the Center for the Connected Consumer at the George Washington School of Business. Hoffman said: “Rather be-or, I think we’re likely to be faced with a hybrid coming.”
She said, “People have found convenience in some of these virtual options, it makes sense…”
Hoffman added that many virtual options may have started during the pandemic. But they do not necessarily have to do with health security. They are just easier.
Food delivery services
Cornelius Hairston, a 40-year-old father, is married and his wife works on the front lines of healthcare. So, he said his family had been very careful throughout the pandemic. He said they only come out when necessary.
Hairston said her four-year-old twins were “COVID babies.” For much of their young lives, children did not walk into a grocery store. The family used delivery services to avoid going to stores. But in the future, he expects to use delivery services “sometimes” or not often.
Others say that some food delivery or pick-up services aren’t as good as buying in person.
Tony DiGiovane told the AP he felt nervous about the high number of COVID-19 infections in his home state of Arizona. So the 71-year-old used food delivery services. He found them annoying.
“When I picked up the Thingshe said, “I needed more stuff. He added that there was always something “missing or wrong” about pick-up or takeout orders.
Online health care
For Angie Lowe, a 48-year-old woman from Illinois, telemedicine was convenient. His first telemedicine appointment was at the start of the pandemic. She was able to speak with a doctor without missing work or going to a medical center.
Lowe said, “This was my first telemedicine appointment, but it won’t be my last. If I can do it, I will. She and her husband started doing things in public again over a year ago, but she continues to use telemedicine.
Karen Stewart, 63, understands that video calls are useful. She also sees some of her doctors online and likes not having to drive to appointments.
However, she said it was “scary” when all of her pre-surgery appointments were online. She wanted more “hands-on” care. Stewart added that there are “things a doctor might find out that he can’t see online.”
The pandemic has created a chance to balance in-person and virtual services to support older adults’ physical and mental health, Alycia Bayne said. She is a researcher at NORC.
Bayne said telemedicine could help people who have difficulty traveling, don’t live near a medical center, or live alone.
But technology has limits. Bayne said technological difficulties may explain why public opinion research found that older people are less likely to use digital services after the pandemic.
She noted, however, that the AP-NORC study also found similar percentages of adults of all ages saying virtual options should continue post-pandemic.
“They recognize the advantages of virtual services,” she said. “But they are also ready to return to their pre-pandemic routines. Bayne added that the new services are an added benefit for people who need them: “The silver liningof course, is that these services are now available.
I am Anna Matteo.
Hannah Fingerhut and RJ Rico reported this story for The Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English.
words in this story
routine -not. a regular way of doing things in a particular order
delivery -not. act of bringing something to a person or place
option -not. something that can be chosen; a choice or a possibility
hybrid -not. the combination of two or more things
convenience -not. a quality or situation that makes something easy or useful for someone by reducing the amount of work or time needed to do something: practice –adj.
Things -not. materials, supplies or equipment
appointment -not. an agreement to meet someone at some point
benefit to -not. a good or useful result or effect
silver lining -idiom something good that can be found in a bad situation
Did you use an online service during the COVID-19 pandemic?
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