Wednesday, July 28News That Matters

Why We’re Dreading a Return to ‘Normal’ | NYT Opinion

As the pandemic winds down in the United States, people are emerging from their cocoons, all fired up and ready to celebrate in a communal explosion of relief and pent-up desire. The sense of anticipation is so great that some, with lusty hope, have called the coming months “The Summer of Love.”

But in the Opinion video above, we explore how not everyone is feeling this way. Many people across the country are harboring a deep anxiety as the world around them kicks back into gear.

In the video, you will hear from some of these quieter voices. They explain that as much as they want the pandemic to end, it has also provided them with some relief from challenges, inequities and injuries that were all too common in their prepandemic lives.

Kirsten Imani Kasai, 50, a novelist in San Diego and self-described introvert, describes how she found comfort and safety in the relative quietude of the past year — and fears the return of a noisier, more-demanding world. Emily Ladau, 29, a disability rights activist in Long Island, N.Y., says she worries that the shift back to in-person interactions will force her, once again, to navigate environments that weren’t designed for the physically disabled.


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And for Michael Reid, 67, a retired Episcopal priest and former professional dancer in Santa Fe, N.M., the shutdowns unexpectedly gave him sanctuary from everyday racist interactions.

As the nation reckons with the collective trauma of the pandemic, they suggest, we should find lessons in it that will help shape a better society for everyone.
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  • Adam Westbrook

    Hi I'm Adam, one of the producers from Opinion Video who made this film. We wanted to give a voice to the many people who are quietly feeling anxious or even scared as bars, restaurants and public transport become crowded again. As terrible as the pandemic has been, for some people it's also provided an unexpected break from a life that was not working out for them.

    If you have any questions about the video and how we made it, post it below and I'll do my best to answer!

  • Ben Malloy

    Will life ever go back to pre-pandemic normal Worldwide like 2019 to the point where we all are safe from COVID-19 will the pandemic ever be gone?

  • A. S

    It will probley be along time before things can return to normal with all these new deadlier covid viruses sneaking in everywhere

  • JustHere

    What I learned is people are truly gross… you do not know how people live and conduct their lives and now I have to go back into the office with said people 🤮🤢🤮🤢😷

  • Katharine Osborne

    I was diagnosed with PTSD last autumn, specifically for how bad my anxiety had gotten from the few (very negative) interactions I had during the pandemic, mostly from me trying to get other people to respect my social distancing space and then they become hostile or laugh. I was also diagnosed with OCD, which I had since I was a child (it was all hygiene related which you can imagine greatly intensifies when a virus is omnipresent). Also I live with an autoimmune disease, and have had cancer so I have a lot of experience with hospitals and chronic illness and it basically broke my brain why anyone would do anything to endanger their life or invite a chronic illness like long covid. I lost all respect for the segment of society that has just laughed off the pandemic. So like, it has been intense. Now that the Prime Minister is scrapping all measures, while cases are rising, it just makes me want to dig a hole in the ground and never come out. I honestly fantasise about increased solitude like rowing across the ocean alone or taking a job counting puffins or something. I do not want to rejoin society as it was, but there is so much pressure to ‘return to normalcy’. It makes me physically sick.


    I would think that if my partner was ignored and in pain that I would ensure that these people acknowledge him or I would not acknowledge them. You have married a person and part of that means supporting them in such instances. It’s really hard to be an other in any country much less the one you are born in.

  • David Tangitau

    If we don’t learn to live with Corona, we’ll be wearing masks and being locked up for years to come. We sold ourselves out for safety yet again. When will we learn.

  • AL

    Good thing that some of us found peace during pandemic. Mine is like Titanic, everyone around me screaming for help. I am a lucky few that thrive and able to absorb, listening to most of them. Both side are true and both side are anxious of what will come next.

  • Mac Lyerly

    As an extrovert this was extremely hard for me. I was lucky enough not to lose anyone to the virus, but I feel terrible for those who did. Still, I am very ready to get back to seeing people and getting my life back. It’s so hard to find energy when I can’t communicate with others as easily.

  • KK W-Pal

    Oh, and in a sea of YTS, I feel like I'd become more visible. Especially, if they're following me around stores like I want to steal. Back to their old shenanigans. Be more comfortable shopping online. Some don't have shhh else better to do than harass blks that are literally minding their own business.

  • KK W-Pal

    Blk introvert and I'm not wanting this hybrid nonsense 🙄. Waaay more productive at home. The office is BS. They just want people to be paying $4/gallon for gas and guinea pigging for this vaccine. Sick of the BS!

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