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America StaffMay 11, 2023
a woman looks at a wall with face masks hanging on itPhoto by Parastoo Maleki, courtesy of Unsplash.

On May 5, the World Health Organization declared the end of the public health emergency that began on Jan. 30, 2020, with the emergence of a new coronavirus. We asked four editors to mark the official end of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to consider what lessons we might take with us into the future. Click to read each full reflection.


Jim McDermott, S.J., on what he’s putting in his Covid time capsule
The videos that helped sustain me aren’t for normal times. They’re for when normal runs out and you’re left with no idea what comes next. Maybe future generations will never need to play Animal Crossing or binge “Inspector Morse” or watch the videos that meant so much to me. If someday future generations do find themselves in a crazy place of their own, though, I hope this can help.

Kerry Weber on being able to gather again
I still find myself marveling at the simple act of being together again. Sometimes I am in a grocery store or a restaurant or the office, and I have an urge to stand on an orange crate or a table or a desk and shout: Can you believe we are all here?! 

Joe Hoover, S.J., on the diary writing exercise that got him through:
I wrote the tale of stubborn, devout and clueless Thomas (who possibly has an America subscription), perhaps as the only way I knew how to combat this crisis. Over the past three years, we all found ways (at least now and again, no?) to smile and laugh throughout this unreal, once-in-a-lifetime event. Writing this marginally insane diary was a reminder to me that, no matter what disasters strike us, and no matter what destruction they wreak, we can at least find ways to diminish their soul-destroying power. We can at least laugh.

Molly Cahill on what she’ll tell her children about the event that upended her young adulthood:
I’ll take the responsibility of passing the story along seriously, while also accepting that there’s only so much they’ll be able to grasp. I’ll pray that their lives are free of times like this one. I’ll know they probably won’t be.

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