As the pandemic starts to recede, New York looks more divided than ever | Emma Brockes squib
The city’s public finances are decimated – and though the risk of the virus is ebbing, new forms of pain are clearly on the way
I rediscovered a video this week, made by my kids’ kindergarten teachers and sent to parents last June, at the end of the school year. The first half featured scenes of pre-pandemic life, outlandish shots of kids participating, unmasked, in cooking classes, field trips and fun runs. The second comprised videos and photos sent in by the kids of homeschooling. Apart from the sheer lurch at the reminder of how much had been lost, the most striking thing about the video was how definitive the line was between before and after. Things were one way; and the next day they were, emphatically, another.
The end of the pandemic won’t be like this. How to measure any ending at all feels like an increasingly impossible task, even as vaccination rates soar and death rates plunge. In the US at least, infection rates remain stubbornly flat, the risk level in New York is stuck at “very high”, and health officials talk of a “fourth surge” in the midwest. Things are much better than they were this time last year, but at this point, anticipating a second summer of disruption and no full return in September, the long tail of this pandemic seems endless.