In early September, approximately one month after the re-imposition of the indoor mask mandate in Washington, I walked into the Trader Joe’s on Capitol Hill without a mask. As expected, I was the only person maskless in the entire store. Yet, besides this detail, the experience was surprisingly uneventful. Not once did an angry shopper berate me for my insensitivity, nor was I ever asked to put my mask on. I checked out, huffed my grocery bag over my shoulder, and left. No harm, no foul.
How will the pandemic end? This is the question that has plagued us from the start. In the meantime, countless measures have been implemented as surefire ways to return us to normal: lockdowns, mask mandates, stimulus checks, travel bans, online school, and the “indomitable”vaccine. Nineteen months on, however, the results have been slight. Most mandates are still in place, the pandemic is still ongoing, and the question still goes very much unanswered.