People Are Revealing The Things The Pandemic Ruined More Than We Realized

Not that you need a reminder, but March marks the fourth anniversary of the first COVID lockdowns implemented across the US. Of course, the pandemic would hit the world hard and really change the way we live our lives — even today.

Empty Times Square with digital billboards displaying messages thanking healthcare workers
Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

It was with all that in mind that I searched through Reddit for a thread about the lasting impact of the pandemic, and came across this one from last year where the [now deleted] user asked: "What did the pandemic ruin more than we realize?

Empty store shelves at target
Smith Collection / Gado via Getty Images

The thread went very, very viral getting over 27K comments. Below are the top, best, and most often repeated comments (that I bet you'll agree with):

1."I'm not sure if anyone else feels the same way, but my perception of time hasn't really returned back to normal since then."

Person looking pensive with multiple mathematical formulas and geometric figures superimposed around them

2."This might just be local, but where I live, a SHIT ton of businesses closed. I mean, half of them were closed. Not just because of the shutdown, they were closed permanently."

Signs on a door indicating closure and advising to maintain a 2-meter distance due to COVID-19

3."As a teacher, I can say that it’s definitely affected kids in a way people don’t realize. Kids who had their first year of school (or even second) during the pandemic act quite different than kids who had a normal introduction to school. Many of them seem to have fewer social skills and higher anxiety than kids from previous years."

Girl attending an online class on a laptop at a home desk

4."The health system is wrecked. Way too many nurses got burnt out and left the profession."

A person in medical scrubs sits on the floor, leaning against a wall in a pensive pose

5."My perception on money. I worked so hard to pay off debt, save up for a new house, get promotions. Now, with the rise of housing costs and inflation I feel like money is literally such a made-up thing and I have no control over anything even with all the right decisions."

Piggy bank with cash sticking out, symbolizing savings or investment


"Two steps forwards, followed by three steps backwards."


Marsbars / Getty Images

6."Independent/smaller/DIY music venues never really recovered."

Guitarist performing live on stage at a dimly lit evening venue

7."People's driving is so out of wack, my only concern is to make it home in one piece."

White car in motion on a road with blurred surroundings conveying speed

8."Used car market is completely f'd, as are flight prices."

Sign with text "USED CARS" on the facade of a building against a clear sky

9."Night shift people's lives. Nothing is ever open late anymore."

Woman holding a 'CLOSED' sign inside a door, looking outward

10."The lockdowns happened during my last semester of university. I've never had an in-person job, only work from home, which I realize is a blessing but also makes it feel like... IDK, like it's not real. I have no work friends, have never met my supervisor in person, I do all my work from my desk in my room. It feels like pretend."

Person waves at colleagues during a virtual meeting displayed on a computer screen

11."People seem so much shittier in large group public situations now. I don't know what it is, but etiquette in places like a movie theater used to be standard, but every experience I've had lately has been horrible. People talking, sitting there on their phones, and other just generally bad things."

Man talking on phone in a cinema, disturbing others; woman next to him looks annoyed

12."Price of eating out."

Fast food restaurant menu boards above counters, blurred with foreground seating

13."I started to notice that people cough and sneeze without using their hand/arm and just do it into the open, into a room or hallway full of people, directly at people, when they wear a mask they would remove the mask before sneezing or coughing into the open — all without any remorse or understanding why this would be bad or generally why it would be disgusting, no matter if it’s during a pandemic or not. This still happens, daily I see someone doing it. It’s mind blowing to me, absolutely mind-blowing, considering what we all went through and why."

Man in purple T-shirt coughing into fist, appears to be demonstrating proper cough etiquette

14."The sense of security. I never know what’s around the corner anymore. It’s terrifying."

Collage of intriguing finds: vials lineup, horse in a room, phones evolution, bridge in haze, person with mask, artful masks, hopscotch, spider ring on a hand

15."My willingness to waste my life at an office when I can do the work just as well from home."

Man sleeping at desk with amused woman looking on, in an office setting from a TV show scene

16."Feels like it’s a more 'to each their own' sense of living. People don’t appear to be as connected as before the pandemic."

Man in a casual shirt with arms crossed, looking to the side with a thoughtful expression

17."Printed menus. Call me snarky but scrolling through your phone at dinner, whether with family or on a date, is shitty."

Person scanning a QR code on a "Scan and Order OUR MENU" sign with a smartphone in a restaurant setting

18."Family relations. Vaxxed vs. anti-vax, mask vs no mask, Covid deniers vs. lockdown advocates. Fractured a lot of my family and many others."

Two women are sitting on a couch, one gesturing animatedly while the other listens

19."Supply chain. Just in time ordering was a bad idea to begin with, but trying to adapt to the new normal when you are used to full shelves to choose from is almost worse."

Shopper with a basket glances at mostly empty grocery shelves with few products

20."The belief that Americans are able to come together in a crisis and be willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. We’ll never trust each other again."

Illustration of a person surrounded by social media reactions, emoticons, and interactions from others

21."My social/work life, after living like a hermit for two years and working from home, it's taking me a long time to go out like before."

Person applying lipstick while looking at their reflection in a mirror

22."It ruined me on traffic. For one glorious year, as an 'essential worker,' I had the roads almost entirely to myself, it was beautiful."

View of an empty city street lined with blooming trees, traffic lights, and parked cars

23.And lastly, "The cost of living is pretty f'd."

Graphical representation of groceries spilling as prices soar along an upward trend arrow

You can read the original thread on Reddit.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.