For Subscribers: How much of our future will look like our present

This is The Atlantic’s weekly email to subscribers, a close look at the issues our newsroom is watching, just for you.

The coronavirus has changed the way we live our lives. Some of those changes—staying six feet apart, wearing masks inside—may prove temporary, while others—working from home, videoconferencing—may be here to stay.

Amanda Mull and Derek Thompson have chronicled many aspects of our “new normal” since the pandemic began. Today, as vaccine developments promise a return to pre-pandemic life, Amanda and Derek reflect on how our lives changed in the past 10 months, and contemplate how much of our future will continue to look like our present.

— Lora Strum

The pandemic has changed virtually everything about American life, but for me, the biggest thing—and one that people often don’t think about in such terms—is how it has changed what we need from our homes. —Amanda Mull

Why Americans Have Turned to Nesting


The End of Minimalism


Generation Work-From-Home May Never Recover


Homes are built environments in the same way offices or restaurants or bowling alleys are, refined by their occupants over years or decades to fulfill a narrow set of purposes. Now our homes have been asked to change on the fly to become schools, workplaces, video studios, or every-meal-of-the-day restaurants. —A.M.

Americans Have Baked All the Flour Away


Americans Got Tired of Looking Bad on Zoom


I assumed remote work would increase steadily over the next few years for white-collar workers whose jobs mostly took place on their computers and smartphones. Instead, it has skyrocketed suddenly and chaotically.Derek Thompson

The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically


I believe that the next few years will not be an easy transition. Offices were not invented by mistake: People need community and camaraderie from their work, and many companies still have no idea how to maintain those things in a distributed office. Be prepared for a future of white-collar work that is weirder, more anxious, and more alienating than the one we had coming into the pandemic—if such a thing is even possible. —D.T.

The Pandemic Will Change American Retail Forever


What Will Happen to Cities in 2021


Read more about life after lockdown from around our newsroom:

How the Pandemic Has Changed Us Already

The Great Depression permanently altered many people’s behavior. Could COVID-19 do the same?

Here Comes the COVID-19 Baby Bust

The U.S. could have hundreds of thousands of fewer births next year than it would have in the absence of a pandemic.

Good Riddance to the Handshake

A terrible custom is gone for good. Hallelujah.

Recommended Reading

The Pandemic’s Long-Lasting Effects on Weddings

Even after big parties are safe, smaller, intimate ceremonies are likely to persist.

The Supermarket After the Pandemic

The coronavirus will change grocery stores, and probably not for the better.

Foodie Culture as We Know It Is Over

A wave of culinary experts is responding to the pandemic with an accessible and empathetic approach to home cooking—and audiences can’t get enough.

How Fitness Will Change Forever

Quarantine reminded us that we could work out anywhere. But “anywhere” is not a place we go to do important things.

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  3. The Mysterious Link Between COVID-19 and Sleep, by James Hamblin

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This is the final Subscriber Weekly of 2020. Thank you for supporting our journalism.

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