Marks the 4-year anniversary of the Covid pandemic

Jessie Thompson, 36, a mother of two in Chicago, is reminded of the Covid-19 pandemic every day.

Sometimes it happens when she picks up her kids from day care and lets them run around a park on the way home. Other times, when she takes a shower at 7 a.m. after a weekday practice.

“I always think: In my past life, I should have been on the train in 15 minutes,” said Ms. Thompson said.

A hybrid work schedule replaced the daily commute to the company's headquarters in downtown Chicago, giving Ms. Thompson more time with her children and deeper connections with her neighbors. “The epidemic is a negative memory,” he said. “But I've had this bright spot since then.”

For much of the United States, the pandemic is now firmly in place for the last four years, the Trump administration said declared A national emergency as the virus spreads out of control. But for many Americans, the effects of the pandemic are still an important part of their daily lives.

In interviews, some said the changes were subtle but unmistakable: their world felt a little smaller, less social and less crowded. Parents who start homeschooling their children never stop. Many people continue to mourn relatives and spouses who have died due to complications from covid or coronavirus.

The World Health Organization dropped its global health emergency status in May 2023, but millions of people who survived the virus have long contracted Covid, a mysterious and often debilitating condition that causes fatigue, muscle pain and cognitive decline.

A common feeling emerged. The changes wrought by the pandemic now feel lasting, and may have altered American life forever.

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Before the pandemic, Melody Condon, a marketing specialist in Vancouver, Wash., who is immunocompromised, said she had a strong faith in others.

“Unfounded or not, I believed that others would take small steps to keep me and people like me safe,” Ms Condon, 32, said.

But now he has met people who resist getting tested for Covid or wearing masks in certain circumstances.

“What they're communicating is that they don't care about my health and my life,” Ms Condon said. “I've lost a lot of faith in other people.”

Roswell, Ga. For Paris Dolfman, a mild Covid infection in 2022 turned into a prolonged Covid illness that upended his life.

31 year old Ms. Dolfman is now mostly bedridden, relying on her mother for full-time care. But despite her painful condition, she said her outlook on life has broadened.

“One day I looked out the window and saw happy little birds on a branch, and I imagined what it would be like if your body was free to do whatever it wanted to do,” she said. “I decided to focus on the little things. Instead of focusing on the big picture, focus on the little things that I have.

Clint Newman of Albuquerque spent the first year of the epidemic isolated, alone in his apartment.

“I went more than 12 months without touching another man,” he said. “It was brutal. It hurt me so deeply.

Mr. Newman said he observes what he believes to be the lingering effects of the pandemic around him.

“In people's anger, I see people's aggressive driving,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of unhappiness and anger in the world right now, and I think a lot of that goes into the lockdown.

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Mr. After Newman came out of solitary, he realized that his career path had also changed. He decided not to be lonely again. After joining a dating app, he met a girl named Shay and the two got married in 2022.

“Contagion is something I carry with me, consciously, all the time,” he said.

Four years after contracting Covid, Cindy Esch of Liberty Lake, Wash., said she had to deal with a different life than the one she lived before.

She and her husband go on adventures, especially on their sailboat, the Passion. But her long case of Covid was so difficult — she often felt severe fatigue that left her exhausted for days — that the couple was forced to sell their two-story house and move to a house with no stairs.

Doctors have told Mrs Esh that she and her husband must be very careful not to contract the virus a second time, which could put her health at further risk.

“I don't want to get Covid again – it's something we think about all the time,” he said. “It's a part of my daily life. It's become a part of who my husband and I are.

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