Covid masking: how it is now that many have moved on

Ms. Keith avoids restaurants and always wears a mask inside. The mask of their children at school. She doesn’t have any health conditions that put her at a higher risk for Covid, but she has had Covid once, has had persistent symptoms and doesn’t have time to be sick, he said.

The most difficult, Ms. Keith, he said, has felt out of step with the liberal-leaning circle of friends who once shared his family’s Covid safety protocols. Now, some of the people who had been compromised by an Iowa law that prohibited schools from requiring masks no longer routinely wear masks.

In a synagogue where masks were previously required, Ms. Keith found her and her family almost alone when he took them to his daughter’s dedication ceremony. And although she was persuaded by a friend to go to a bar to watch a World Cup game, a social activity she particularly missed this year, she said she felt unable to enjoy the usual camaraderie of football

“I felt like, ‘What are we doing here? Nothing has changed. Covid is still not “just a cold”, said Ms. Keith said.

For people like friend Steve Wilke-Shapiro, navigating the resistance of people with whom they once stood in the deadlock is also a new challenge. Mr. Wilke-Shapiro, an architect, said he had resigned himself to contracting Covid, and that with vaccines and booster shots, “I’ll do what I can to avoid it and I’d still mostly do the things I likes to do.”

“I told him it would be fun, there would be people there that I hadn’t seen in a while,” he recalled. But when she refused to return for the next match, he didn’t back down. “I try to read the room,” he said.

Sometimes family members and friends can feel a little exasperated by the hyper worry. Rafael Oro, 64, a business analyst in Union, N.J., said he has grown annoyed with his wife’s continued caution. While he’s ready to return to pre-pandemic routines, “we haven’t seen a play yet,” he noted.

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