Ms Keith avoids restaurants and always wears a mask indoors. Her children mask at school. She has no health conditions that would put her at higher risk from Covid, but she had Covid once, suffered from persistent symptoms and has no time to be sick, she said. declared.
The hardest part, Ms Keith said, was feeling out of step with the circle of liberal-leaning friends who once shared her own family’s Covid safety protocols. Now, some of the people she had sympathized with an Iowa law prohibiting schools from requiring masks are no longer routinely wearing masks themselves.
At a synagogue where masks were once mandatory, Ms Keith found herself and her family almost alone wearing them for her daughter’s dedication ceremony. And although she was persuaded by a friend to go to a bar to watch a World Cup match, a social activity she particularly missed this year, she said she felt unable to enjoy of the usual football camaraderie.
“I was like, ‘What are we doing here? Nothing has changed. Covid still isn’t ‘just a cold,'” Ms Keith said.
For people like friend Steve Wilke-Shapiro, navigating resistance from people they were once in tune with is also a new challenge. Mr Wilke-Shapiro, an architect, said he had resigned himself to contracting Covid and that with vaccinations and boosters he would “do what I can to avoid it and for the most part continue to do the things I like to do”. ‘
“I told her it would be fun, that there would be people she hadn’t seen in a while,” he recalled. But when she refused to return for the next match, he didn’t push back. “I try to read the play,” he said.
Sometimes family members and friends can be a little exasperated by the hyper-concern. Rafael Oro, 64, a trade analyst in Union, NJ, said he chafed at his wife’s continued caution. While he’s ready to get back to his pre-pandemic routines, “we haven’t seen a play yet,” he noted.