How will COVID-19 Affect Our Futures? 


David Figueroa, Author

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everyone’s lives around the world. No one had seen a pandemic like this in the past hundred years, and no one knew what to do. 

By now everyone has heard every little detail about COVID, and President Biden announced on September 19 that the pandemic was finally over. But people still have questions going forward: How is this going to affect future generations and, in particular, Generation Z? 

Mental illness on the rise

The pandemic impacted everything, especially teens’ mental health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “In 2021, more than a third (37%) of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year.” 

Teens are very social, as are humans in general, and being isolated from everything and everyone for almost two years was not suitable for the brain or for mental health. Since the pandemic, depression has affected one out of three Americans and has risen by 32.8%, according to the National Library of Medicine (NIH). Within just the first year of the pandemic, mental hospital inpatient treatment rose by over 60 percent. The evidence shows that mental illness significantly increased in the past two years.

According to an article from Healthline, there is a 50 percent chance, and even higher in severe cases, that depression will be inherited by offspring. This can only mean that depression in future generations will also rise, especially when depression is a recurring illness in some families. This means that future generations such as Generation Beta, the offspring of Generation Z, could have even higher rates of depression and mental health issues.

Fitness rates improved 

During the Covid lockdown, many people’s physical health also declined, but when no one could go anywhere or do anything, many people took up at-home fitness, which has led to a rise in the fitness industry. According to the Global Health and Fitness Association (iHRSA), in 2019, before the pandemic started, only 14 percent of Generation Z held gym memberships, and only 33 percent of millennials did. Now, according to an article on ZIPPA, Chris Kolmar reports that over 40 percent of all Americans now hold a gym membership, and that number is projected to rise 33 percent every year until 2028. Once gyms reopened and sports started up again after the pandemic, there has been a huge boom in teens and adults getting fit.

Long COVID casts a shadow

Another long-term effect of the pandemic is “long COVID,” also known as post COVID, which happens when someone contracts COVID and eventually tests negative and no longer has to quarantine but is still feeling symptoms and has long-term health problems, sometimes for months or years. According to the CDC, long COVID affects people with many symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, shortness of breath, coughs, chest pain,diarrhea, rashes, change in menstrual cycles, joint or muscle pain, and the list goes on and on. Feeling sick makes people unmotivated, and that affects their ability to work, which also threatens their incomes. 

According to the CDC, one in five Americans who have had COVID still have long COVID. Older adults have a greater chance of developing long COVID, and women are even more likely to feel symptoms from long COVID.

Business also affected

Many businesses suffered from the pandemic as well. There were worker shortages, so companies had to change their hours and some even had to shut down. For example, in New Mexico when the pandemic hit, Walmart started closing anywhere from 9 to 11 p.m. as opposed to being open 24/7, as did McDonald’s and many other businesses. Even one of our local gas stations, Allsups, started closing at 10 p.m. The Regal movie theater located in the San Isidro Plaza completely shut down at the start of the pandemic and reopened just this year. 

When will these businesses ever return to normal? Will they return to normal? One problem has been a shortage of workers. According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, unemployment in New Mexico is now below 6.5 percent, which is low, and all COVID-19 related federal unemployment programs expired on September 4, 2021. 

People might still be wary about catching COVID, making them not want to work. One problem could be that long-COVID has affected lots of people and, depending on their symptoms, they might not want to work.


Overall, COVID-19 obviously made a huge impact on the world and will forever change things for us.