The Atlantic Daily: Summer for Americans Could Feel ‘Normal’

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This summer may be one of hugs and hot dogs. We send you into the weekend with promising news (and a few suggestions for what to do).

We’re close—so close.

My colleague James Hamblin cautiously forecasts a delicious summer in the United States, teasing the stuff of many a quarantine daydream: gatherings, reopenings, travel, and hugs.

James cautions Americans, however, to not lose sight of the global nature of this outbreak. His piece, summarized below, is worth reading in full.

A roller coaster at the peak, about to return to home base
GABBY JONES / REDUX

Summer in most of the U.S. could feel “normal.”

If cases continue to fall, restrictions may begin to lift. “Pre-pandemic norms could return to schools, churches, and restaurants,” James writes. “People could travel and dance indoors and hug grandparents, their own or others’.”

And the national mood may be one of euphoria.

“Periods of intense hardship are sometimes followed by unique moments of collective catharsis or awakening.” Think the Roaring ’20s, but don’t get complacent.

Americans shouldn’t forget about the rest of the world.

Recommended Reading

James warns: “Optimistic projections about the coming months in the U.S. can mean losing sight of a far more unsettling global picture.” According to one expert, many low-income countries may not have widespread vaccine access until 2022 or 2023.

The U.S. has an opportunity to be a leader in the responsible allocation of vaccines worldwide.

Global herd immunity could prevent SARS-CoV-2 from becoming a milder annual virus, like the seasonal flu (which kills hundreds of thousands every year). “The U.S. could build a coalition that can actually solve this problem—and stand ready to address any emerging variants or new coronaviruses in the coming months and years,” James writes.


The filmmaker Chloe Zhao
PHILLIP FARAONE / GETTY / THE ATLANTIC

Watch. If you watch one movie this weekend, make it Nomadland. The “intimate epic” is already an Oscar front-runner, and its director, Chloé Zhao, is about to be huge, our critic David Sims writes. It’s in open movie theaters and on Hulu starting today.

Read. Patricia Lockwood’s debut novel, No One Is Talking About This, explores the mind, and heart, of an internet-addled protagonist. And Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America, a timely new book from Alec MacGillis, looks at how Amazon is reshaping the geography of wealth and power.

Listen. On this week’s episode of The Experiment, our new podcast with WNYC, we debate an age-old question: Do sweatpants symbolize laziness, or freedom?

In our Culture section, our critic Spencer Kornhaber explored a noisy, ugly, and addictive new musical genre: hyperpop. Sample some tracks on our Spotify playlist.

Take a hike—with a friend. In the latest installment of “The Friendship Files,” the senior editor Julie Beck spoke with a group of friends who have been going on monthly hikes together for 25 years.


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