It’s Friday, April 10. In today’s newsletter: After the pandemic, two Americas. Plus: Why the U.S. is running out of masks.
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(Getty / The Atlantic)
Tale of Two Pandemics
Some will emerge from this crisis disrupted and shaken, but ultimately stable. Others will come out of it with much more lasting scars.
Which of these two pandemics any given American will experience will be determined by a morbid mix of a sort of demographic predestination—shaped strongly by inequality—and purely random chance, Joe Pinsker reports:
Two important predictors of an American’s well-being right now, other than whether that person has COVID-19, are the answers they and others in their household would give to two questions: Are you still able to work? And if so, can you work without risking exposure to the virus?
For a rapidly growing portion of the country, the answer to the first question is no. Three weeks ago, some 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in a single week, a record-breaking total that was nearly five times as large as the previous recorded high. The following week, the number of new claims was twice as high—6.9 million. Still another 6.6 million claims were filed last week, bringing the recent three-week total to nearly 17 million—an enormous figure that likely still understates how many Americans are actually out of work right now.
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(CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP VIA GETTY)
The most important holiday on the Christian calendar feels foreign and unfamiliar this year, Emma Green writes. “But perhaps there’s theological insight to be gleaned from a painful Easter.”
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Among the related questions displayed on Google’s search-results page for the word are “Is ‘normalcy’ a real word?” (HOSSEIN FATEMI / PANOS PICTURES / REDUX)