The Atlantic Daily: Social Distancing Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

The Atlantic

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Social distancing isn’t going away anytime soon. No one knows how long self-isolation measures will remain in place, but public-health experts say it could be several months, or even longer, until large gatherings are safe to resume as normal.

“Degrees of normalcy will likely be won back in the meantime,” our staff writer Joe Pinsker writes. “Come summer, Americans might get restaurants but no music festivals, offices but no crowded beaches, bars with spaced-out seating.”

The spring may not bring such small delights. Instead, this may be remembered as the season many of us spent rooted in our homes, fearful and bored, being forced to reckon with the smallness of our own lives. (That in itself being a place of relative privilege.)

Or it could be one when we learned to love the little things, like the sound of the rain—and to lean on such coziness for comfort amid grief. “What has sustained me during the challenging times,” Isabel Gillies writes, are noticing the small parts of my life that I love.”

Recommended Reading

Some useful perspective for navigating this peculiar and difficult season:

Denis Lovrovic / AFP / Getty

Today’s coronavirus update, in three sentences:

The U.S. government passed its relief package. Boris Johnson caught it. Trouble is brewing in the southern United States.

What to read if … you just want practical advice:

One question, answered: How is the pandemic affecting the 2020 elections in the U.S.?

Many states have postponed their primary elections, and while we can’t yet see as far as November, we do know that in-person voting, with its crowds and shared surfaces, is an ideal environment for transmission of the coronavirus. A legal scholar proposes a solution for Election Day: “Congress should swiftly pass a law that mandates the option of early voting by mail in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

Meanwhile, the campaign process is changing, too: While in-person campaign events don’t make or break presidential races, they’re pretty important for local and state candidates. Those candidates are facing a whole bunch of unique campaign challenges, Adam Harris reports—including child-care and work responsibilities (many of them aren’t running for office full-time) and a lack of funding for advertising.

This weekend’s Atlantic-approved self-quarantine activity:

Throw a virtual PowerPoint party. We promise it’ll be more fun than you’ve ever had with slides. These eighth graders will teach you how.

What to read if … you’d like to read about something—anything—other than the coronavirus:

The true tale of the mobster who bought his kid a minor-league hockey team

We are continuing our coverage of the coronavirus. View all of our stories related to the outbreak here. Let us know if you have specific questions about the virus—or if you have a personal experience you’d like to share with us. In particular, we’d like to hear about how the pandemic has affected your family life—whether that’s child care, partner relationships, or any other family dynamic.

This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce, with help from Isabel Fattal, and edited by Shan Wang. Questions, suggestions, typos? Reply directly to this newsletter or write to anytime.