The Atlantic Daily: Vaccinated America Is Distracted by Its New Freedoms

Residents might be tempted to talk about the pandemic in the past tense, but we’ll need to stay in this together to end it for good.

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Things look pretty good in America—so good, its residents might be tempted to talk about the pandemic in the past tense.

But Americans’ tendency to put themselves—and their nation—first could be a barrier to smothering the coronavirus once and for all. Even the CDC is complicit, my colleague Ed Yong warns, by prioritizing personal choice in its recommendations to the public.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden continues to retreat from the “America first” vaccination strategy, reportedly planning to announce that the United States will send 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine abroad.


One question, answered: The pandemic drove winter cases of the common cold and the flu to remarkable lows. Should we be concerned about our microbiomes?

James Hamblin reports:

Microbiome experts are not suggesting that it’s good to get lots of common colds; they say we should be grateful for the recent dip in these infections, just as we’re grateful that we haven’t lately stepped on a rusty nail. The “what doesn’t kill you” adage does not apply to respiratory infections any more than it does to tetanus.

For more on what hand-sanitizing and social distancing has done to our bodies, read James’s piece on a year without germs.

What to read if … you’re wondering about the stuff you left on your desk a year ago:

Our deputy managing editor Rachel Gutman recently visited the office and found a decaying apple from March 2020. She talked with food scientists about it. And then she ate it.

Today’s Atlantic-approved activity:

This week’s most anticipated TV debut is Loki, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stream it, then read our culture writer Shirley Li’s piece on why the Disney+ series “feels like a refreshing reset for the franchise.”

Tonight’s break from the news:

She got pregnant. His body changed too.


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.