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Life in the Time of COVID-19: Is there a Silver Lining?


As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world, the number of confirmed cases is currently approaching 4 million, and the death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 250,000.  The impact on the global economy has been devastating, and it seems unlikely that life will return to ‘normal’ anytime soon.

Needless to say, good news seems to be in short supply – but there’s a saying that ‘every cloud has a silver lining.’  What, if anything, is the ‘silver lining’ during this pandemic?

IntelliSurvey’s most recent US and UK ‘Life in the Time of COVID-19’ surveys, conducted on May 1, 2020, shed some light on what citizens in these two countries consider to be the upsides of the pandemic. 

Most find a silver lining

As shown below, in both the US and UK surveys, most (81% and 78%, respectively) who answered the optional question ‘What, if anything, has been the ‘silver lining’ for you during this pandemic?’ were able to acknowledge that there have been at least some positive aspects of this pandemic.

Family and friends top the list

One quarter of US respondents and 21% of UK respondents cite spending time with or getting closer to family and friends as a silver lining arising from COVID-19.  Some describe spending time in person, while others mention video chatting, communicating via telephone, reconnecting/connecting via social media, or seeing one another ‘from a safe distance’:

  • “I have been able to really connect with my family on a deeper level than before. We’ve really been able to discuss topics that take some time and thought but truly bridge the gaps that had been developing over time and due to the age gaps between us. We’ve also developed a family routine that includes more fun and games.” – US respondent
  • “Being able to see and talk to my family on Skype.” – UK respondent
  • “Hearing my children’s, grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s voices on the phone and seeing them on video.” – UK respondent
  • “Getting reconnected with old friends and family thru social media” – US respondent
  • “I see my children and grandchildren more often, at a safe distance outside” – US respondent

More time and slower pace of life

Another positive aspect that has come out of the pandemic, brought up by 17% of those in the UK and 10% of those in the US, is that the pace of life has slowed down, resulting in people having more time to rest, relax, engage in activities they enjoy, and tackle projects around the house:

  • “Being able to get a bit of ME time. Decorate my house. Think deeply about where I am heading in life and recognising that I can be better.” – UK respondent
  • “The ability to slow down and not be in such a hurry” – US respondent
  • “I have managed to do odd jobs around the house and the garden. And my house is so clean you could operate in it.” – UK respondent
  • “My busy life, slowing down. Quality time with my fiancé and dog. Time to spend outdoors and be active. More time to complete school work.” – US respondent

Putting it all in perspective

Although it is not as frequently mentioned in the UK as in the US (3% vs. 8%), another ‘silver lining’ is that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided  perspective as to what truly matters/is needed/is important in life:

  • “I realize that a lot of things in life aren’t as it as important as we always thought they were. By that I am meaning the material things.” – US respondent
  • “Realizing we can manage on a lot less than we thought” – US respondent
  • “Getting back to basics, realizing I don’t need to do or buy as many things as I previously thought, finding things to do at home rather than go out” – US respondent
  • “Massive reality check for the majority of people as to what are “the good things” in life and not to be taken for granted” – UK respondent

Environmental impact and community spirit

Seven percent of those in the UK and 3% in the US cite an improvement in the environment as a benefit of the pandemic, and the same percentages in each country mention that it has brought out the best in people/resulted in more community spirit:

  • “Clean air, hearing birdsong, no traffic or aeroplane noise – bliss” – UK respondent
  • “Less pollution in the air and waters.” – US respondent
  • “Reduced pollution levels, less traffic, a recovery of nature” – UK respondent
  • The way the country has knitted together and communities have become closer.” – UK respondent
  • “Seeing the nicer side of people and a sense of togetherness” – UK respondent
  • “Good people are doing inspiring things, creative people are also inspiring, kindness is flourishing and we are drawing closer to those we care about.” – US respondent

Health, money and employment

Other ‘silver linings’ mentioned by participants in both the US and UK include an appreciation for being healthy, eating healthier, exercising more, engaging in better hygiene, and losing weight, as well as saving money, having or going back to a job, and working from home:

  • “The fact that my family and friends are still healthy and that I am also healthy” – US respondent
  • “I have lost weight because exercising more! And saved money since not commuting” – US respondent
  • “I’ve made more money with extra unemployment benefits and saved by not going out” – US respondent
  • “Still being able to work and keep my job” – US respondent
  • “Working from home has been awesome” – US respondent
  • “Have spent less money on dining and entertainment so have increased level of savings.” – UK respondent
  • “The silver lining for me during this pandemic has been able to save my money and I’ve also been able to focus on myself and my mental health.” – UK respondent
  • “The option of working from home and also because of social distancing I am able to save a lot of money from not going out and cutting back on expenses” – UK respondent

The Power of Positive Thinking

It is encouraging that in these challenging times, there are still many people who are able to appreciate and acknowledge positive aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For some additional positive news visit Positive.News.

Respondents for this survey were collected via Lucid Marketplace.

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