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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has caused hardship and sorrow around the world, but it has also forced innovations that might stick around after the pandemic is under control.

Why it matters: Some of those changes have proven to be popular and may improve people's lives if they become permanent.

Here are the changes that are most likely to outlast the pandemic, according to Axios experts:

  • Remote job postings allow workers anywhere to find employment where the jobs are — and remote work cuts out the commute, giving time, money and life satisfaction back to workers while reducing fuel demand.
  • More movies will be streamed. The pandemic has forced studios and theater companies to make movies more readily available to watch at home, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
  • Alcohol and grocery deliveries through apps like Instacart are up, while retailers like Walmart are trying to compete with Amazon on delivering goods.
  • Telehealth and teletherapy have skyrocketed, making access to medical treatments and therapists easier.
  • More Americans are venturing into the great outdoors, due to few socially distant vacation options and most countries barring U.S. travelers.
  • Outdoor dining and pedestrian-friendly streets allow city dwellers to escape the isolation of home. Public health experts consider eating al fresco safer than mingling indoors.
  • Broadband has become an essential service. States like Colorado, Ohio and Tennessee have invested in new connections to support remote learning and telemedicine.
  • At school, experts are predicting a push for smaller classes after big lectures made for sub-par Zoom lessons, plus more communication between teachers and parents to coordinate kids' day-to-day learning, per Axios' Kim Hart.

What to watch: "It's likely that ... many of us will stumble upon better solutions to some of our recurrent problems that we otherwise would never have tried" before the pandemic, evolutionary anthropologist Dorsa Amir, who has led peer-reviewed studies on how people deal with risk across different cultures, told Axios.

Yes, but: Predictions about what economic and behavioral changes will remain after a vaccine is distributed, and once the country warily enters a "new normal," can only tell us so much.

  • After the Great Recession, predictions that newly minted teleworkers would flee from cities were actually backwards, an American University demographer told The Atlantic's Amanda Mull in June.

The bottom line: For all of the nightmarish experiences we'd all like to forget, it's worth remembering that there have been changes we could choose to keep — and that might actually make our post-pandemic lives better.

Go deeper

Oct 29, 2020 - Health

Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a September Senate hearing on COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday he doesn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready until January 2021 or later.

What he's saying: Fauci said during the interview that the U.S. was in a "bad position" after failing to keep case numbers down post-summer. "We should have been way down in baseline and daily cases and we’re not," he said.

Oct 29, 2020 - Health

A new round of coronavirus shutdowns hits the U.S. and Europe

A couple wearing protective face masks ride their bicycle in a deserted street before the 9pm city-wide night time curfew during the coronavirus. Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Several U.S. cities and European governments imposed new restrictions Wednesday to curb the spikes in COVID-19 cases, such as closing restaurants, bars and limiting social gatherings.

Oct 28, 2020 - World

France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday a second nationwide lockdown starting Friday to contain the coronavirus.

Why it matters: “(France has been) overpowered by a second wave,” Macron said in a national televised address Wednesday, noting the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier," than the first. The announcement comes after the country saw over 36,000 new cases in the last 24 hours.