Four Years On, Covid Has Reshaped Life for Many Americans

Jessie Thompson, a 36-year-old mother of two in Chicago, is reminded of the Covid-19 pandemic every day.

Sometimes it happens when she picks up her children from day care and then lets them romp around at a neighborhood park on the way home. Other times, it’s when she gets out the shower at 7 a.m. after a weekday workout.

“I always think: In my past life, I’d have to be on the train in 15 minutes,” said Ms. Thompson, a manager at United Airlines.

A hybrid work schedule has replaced her daily commute to the company headquarters in downtown Chicago, giving Ms. Thompson more time with her children and a deeper connection to her neighbors. “The pandemic is such a negative memory,” she said. “But I have this bright spot of goodness from it.”

For much of the United States, the pandemic is now firmly in the past, four years to the day that the Trump administration declared a national emergency as the virus spread uncontrollably. But for many Americans, the pandemic’s effects are still a prominent part of their daily lives.

In interviews, some people said that the changes are subtle but unmistakable: Their world feels a little smaller, with less socializing and fewer crowds. Parents who began to home-school their children never stopped. Many people are continuing to mourn relatives and spouses who died of Covid or of complications from the coronavirus.

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