The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Post-Omicron Life Can Be Downright Maddening

By Yasmin Tayag

14 Feb 2022 · 5 min read

Of all the pandemic waves the United States has weathered so far, this one feels uniquely baffling. Omicron is on its way out, and states are relaxing their mask mandates, but close to 200,000 people are still testing positive each day. The country is more vaccinated than ever before, but not vaccinated enough to stop hospitals from filling up with COVID patients. And while we’re still dealing with this variant, another one capable of breaking through those defenses could still emerge. With the coronavirus continuing to surprise us at every turn, the only thing that is certain now is uncertainty.

At this point, many Americans are no longer letting the pandemic interfere with their lives. Some never bothered with safety measures; some are finally just beginning to loosen up as case numbers fall. Meanwhile, for other people—especially the immunocompromised and parents of young, unvaccinated children—post-Omicron life is downright maddening: It’s still tough to figure out how safe being indoors with others is, whether to let kids go maskless at school, or if whatever variant comes next will thwart your travel plans.

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