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When Can I Be a House Guest Again?

When Can I Be a House Guest Again?

We are still in the midst of an uncontrolled pandemic, with new, worrisome variants threatening to stall progress. “Vaccinations are just not happenin

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We are still in the midst of an uncontrolled pandemic, with new, worrisome variants threatening to stall progress. “Vaccinations are just not happening fast enough, and I mean that not just in the U.S., but globally,” Dr. Katz said. “As long as we have this level of Covid in the background, and we have such low rates of immunization, it gives the virus the opportunity to continue to mutate,” and potentially evade the vaccine.

After the 1918 influenza pandemic, Americans went shopping, traveled, and attended sporting events, movies and concerts. Christopher Nichols, an associate professor of history at Oregon State University who studies that period of American history, anticipates that Americans could go big after this pandemic, too. After all, millions of people traveled to gather with friends and family over the holidays, despite dire warnings from public health officials.

“This is a human longing,” said Dr. Nichols, an editor of “Rethinking American Grand Strategy,” which is set to be released in April. “People will want to have dinner parties, have guests in their homes for leisure time, to show off a new piece of furniture, to have a Super Bowl party.”

Initially, our gatherings may be about “going small,” he said — a dinner party for four, a weekend trip with your best friend. “I suspect we’ll be taking baby steps” back to a normal social life.

John M. Barry, an adjunct professor at Tulane University and the author of “Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History,” is skeptical that this pandemic will have a lasting effect on our behaviors if cases continue to fall and the worst is behind us by the end of the year. In that scenario, our living room cocktail parties of 2022 won’t look much different than the ones of 2019. “People have short memories,” he said. “Habits die hard.’”

But if a new variant disrupts progress and the isolation extends for another year or longer, then some more lasting cultural changes may take hold, he said.

Conversations about testing and vaccinations might become part of our everyday life. Host a party, and you may ask guests to tell you if they’ve been vaccinated or recently tested, particularly if at-home tests have become available.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nytimes.com

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