The Atlantic Daily: The Pandemic’s Trauma Won’t Just Go Away

We may be only beginning to grapple with the full effects of the past 14-plus months.

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There’s plenty of joy to be found in America’s reconnection—in that first hug from a loved one, and in those first moments of normalcy in more than a year. But the trauma of the past 14-plus months isn’t going away. We may be just beginning to process it.

My colleague Ed Yong returns with a new piece about grief. Here are three things to know about our relationship with traumatic events, as explained by Ed:

1.  The effects of trauma can flare up when things calm down.

“Some will recover uneventfully, but for others, the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy resumes may be unexpectedly punishing … If you’ve been swimming furiously for a year, you don’t expect to finally reach dry land and feel like you’re drowning.”

2. Grief isn’t linear.

“It doesn’t involve clearly defined stages … It carves long, meandering, and varied paths that popular myths do little to prepare us for.”

3. Healing together helps, but the pandemic broke communal bonds.

“It reduced trust in institutions, separated people from their loved ones, and widened political divisions. It was something of a self-reinforcing disaster, exacerbating the conditions that make recovery harder.”

Read Ed’s piece in full. Or listen to him discuss it on our Social Distance podcast.


One question, answered: With restrictions falling and the CDC allowing fully vaccinated people to go mask-free in some places, how will someone know if you’ve gotten the shot?

The truth is, they won’t, Ian Bogost writes:

America is simply past the point when any system could reasonably offer a foolproof, fraud-proof, universal method of confirming that someone has gotten a COVID-19 shot—flimsy cards and scattered apps included. Instead, we are bound to rely on the same method Americans have always had when it comes to proving vaccination: an honor system built on mutual trust.

Continue reading.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Get caught up on the album everyone is talking about: Olivia Rodrigo, of “Drivers License” fame, released her debut, Sour. Stream it while you read our critic Spencer Kornhaber’s review of the sharp breakup album.

A break from the news:

To stop cars from hitting deer, try wolves.


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.