As the United States braces for a long Covid winter, many people have been reflecting on the early spring, when the first wave of shutdowns transformed work, leisure and social life overnight.
Millions of Americans, stuck at home from mid-March through the spring, threw themselves into digital distractions and ancient hobbies, intermittently checking social media to see how everyone else was holding up. Today, memories of those first few months inspire a mix of visceral dread and jokey nostalgia for the collective experience of binge-watching “Tiger King” and hoarding cans of beans.
But most people seem to agree that the pastimes popularized back then would be best left in “early quarantine” — an unofficial period in U.S. history that began on March 11, when news broke that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson had been diagnosed with Covid-19; the N.B.A. shut down after a positive test; and the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Its end date is looser and more subjective: the first day you gathered with friends (or strangers) off Zoom, perhaps, or the week nonessential businesses reopened in your city.
lockdowns are back.
panic shopping. In the
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