The Atlantic Daily: How to Head Off the New Surge

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America is entering its fourth coronavirus surge. And this time, it appears to be driven by an even deadlier variant of the virus.  

Luckily, the country is prepared, having already vaccinated tens of millions of people. “If we act quickly, this surge could be merely a blip for the United States,” our contributing writer Zeynep Tufekci argues.

Those who haven’t yet gotten their first dose remain particularly at risk, she points out, and, unfortunately, many of the regions seeing outbreaks are home to major vaccine-distribution inequities. Zeynep names two strategies the country can use to snuff out the current rise in cases:

  1. Ring vaccination

The tactic “involves vaccinating contacts and potential contacts of cases, essentially smothering the outbreak by surrounding it with immunity. We should do this, but on a surge scale, essentially ring-vaccinating whole cities and even states.”

  1. Delayed reopenings

“Another sensible step would be to delay opening up—especially places with surges and especially for high-risk activities that take place indoors—until the next 100 million Americans are vaccinated, which could be done as quickly as in a single month.”

Recommended Reading

Continue reading for more on what to expect from this surge.


One question, answered: A reader named Ryan from Arkansas asks how to best prepare their child for the transition back to the classroom.

Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer respond in our latest “Homeroom” column:

Start off by discussing with your son what the change will mean for his day-to-day rhythms. Safety measures such as social distancing, mask wearing, and COVID-19 testing will have significantly altered how his classroom operates compared with the last time he was in school. Make sure he understands that increasing vaccinations and declining case rates in your state and much of the country have made returning to the classroom safe for students. But as part of this conversation, emphasize that these other measures are nevertheless still necessary.

Keep reading. Every Tuesday, Abby and Brian take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at homeroom@theatlantic.com.


Tonight’s Atlantic-approved isolation activity:

A new HBO documentary gives Tina Turner the last say on a life that was, for long periods, out of her own hands, Hannah Giorgis writes.

Today’s break from the news:

Here’s what you’re saying when you give someone the silent treatment.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.