The Atlantic Daily: Not Everyone Is Ready to Get Back Out There

Some Americans find themselves stuck, unable to let go of the comfort blanket of early-pandemic guidelines.

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Pandemic restrictions are lifting in the United States, thanks in large part to the country’s exceptional access to the most effective vaccines. But not everyone is ready to get back out there.

Some Americans find themselves stuck, unable to let go of the comfort blanket of early-pandemic guidelines despite the fact that fully vaccinated people can safely ease up on many precautions.

  • Post-vaccine inertia is real. “You can’t just turn off that anxiety; it’s got to power down,” one psychologist told our reporter Katherine J. Wu.   

  • A subset of liberals can’t quit lockdown. “Some progressives have not updated their behavior based on the new [public-health advice],” Emma Green writes. “And in their eagerness to protect themselves and others, they may be underestimating other costs.”

  • But public-health officials shouldn’t wait around for herd immunity. Juliette Kayyem, a former disaster-preparedness official, argues: “Cautionary public-health guidance risks losing its impact if it fails to acknowledge what the American public surely can see: We are winning the war against COVID-19 in the United States.”


What to read if … you’ve been bragging about your vaccine online:

Why did the internet decide Pfizer is the hot-person vaccine? Our technology reporter Kaitlyn Tiffany investigates.

What to read if … you’re nervously awaiting news about your return to the office:

Here are six questions you should ask your boss, from our deputy managing editor Rachel Gutman.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

A journal is more than a keepsake: “Diaries from the coronavirus era will also help preserve details that may fade from public memory over time,” our assistant editor Morgan Ome wrote last year.

Start writing down your memories of this historic time before you forget them.

Today’s break from the news:

Ten years ago, Game of Thrones arrived with its brutal depictions of sexual violence. Today, prestige television shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale continue to exploit rape as a dramatic device, our writer Sophie Gilbert argues.


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.