Will you leave your pod and stop social distancing soon? How the pandemic has changed the way we talk and live

Coronavirus

MANHATTAN — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world.

For the past 13 months, much of what we do is framed by it. 

How we talk. What we talk about. And how we act.

“I don’t think I used the word ‘quarantine’ one time until this whole sort of COVID situation emerged,” New Yorker Alex Libman said.

Now, he says the word constantly.

Words and phrases that we never uttered before now pepper our conversations. Brooklyn resident Dorian Pressley said “social distancing” is his favorite new phrase.

Elementary school student Catalina Cardanas has a “cohort” at school. 

Michael Maslansky is a language and communications expert.

“A lot of these words have been out there. But nobody would have used the word ‘comorbidity’ before or ‘asymptomatic,'” he said, “‘Socially distance’ is maybe a new idea but not new words themselves.”

Our body language has changed too. Instead of handshakes, we fist bump or tap elbows.

“I like handshakes, but I think we have a long way to go before a handshake and definitely not a hug,” Brett Lichtenberg said in Madison Square Park.

As we come out of this pandemic, Maslansky said expect new popular words and phrases.

“The term ‘vaccine passport’ is now emerging as a new term and there will be a whole new set of language around what the appropriate protocols are in a post pandemic world,” he said.

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