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Welcome to the Pandemic Issue of Vox’s The Highlight

Envisioning life after the coronavirus, from the emergence of “quarantine state of mind” to the bleak future of tourism to health care and worker protections.

Pete Ryan for Vox
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Immersed in quarantine, lonely and shut off from the world but for a few lifelines — TikTok, the news, so many memes — it’s only human for us to imagine the day life will resume, to dream of bustling restaurants, the comforting banter of the office break room, or the pleasure of simply wrapping our arms around someone and hugging them.

At first, even world leaders suggested this shelter-in-place strategy for slowing the global Covid-19 pandemic would be a brief one. Now, it has become clear that weeks will undoubtedly stretch into months. Given that grim timeline, few aspects of our lives will go untouched.

So, what will our future look like — in six months, a year, or even five? For the April issue of The Highlight, we dispatched more than a dozen writers in search of the answers. What lessons will we learn? Will it take a pandemic to prod us toward more inclusive elections? Better health care? What becomes of our globe-trotting ways, or even how we greet one another?

Some of their answers are troubling. But many more are hopeful, as Americans and governments around the world look for opportunities to patch our safety nets, address the grievances of workers, and plan for a future that is not merely the same, but better.

An Illustration of a mask-wearing woman reclining on the floor of her home, eyes closed, with the sunlight from the window illuminating the scene. Pete Ryan for Vox

The legacy of the pandemic: 11 ways it will change the way we live

Few aspects of life are untouched by the coronavirus and resulting global lockdowns. From an emerging “quarantine state of mind” to a new era of frugality to expanding how we vote, here’s what’s next.

by Vox Staff

A collage of travel photos from across the world. Collage by Anna Sudit; Photographs by Kainaz Amaria/Vox

The era of peak travel is over

Covid-19 changed the world’s jet-setting ways in the blink of an eye. It could take years to return to normal.

by Sarah Khan

Win McNamee/Getty Images

How the Covid-19 pandemic will leave its mark on US health care

From hospital closures to the rise of telehealth, these are 5 ways the system is already beginning to transform.

by Dylan Scott

Essential workers — a mailperson, a construction worker, food delivery person, and others — marching while holding signs of raised fists. Illustration by Julia Kuo for Vox

The essential worker revolution of 2020 will not wait

When clinging to America’s individualistic ideals in a pandemic means letting poor people die in service of the economy, society cannot hold.

by Emily Guendelsberger

Aubrey Hirsch

Friendships are crucial to survive the isolation of the coronavirus pandemic. Why do they feel so hard?

This period of social distancing may increase our loneliness, but it’s really only exacerbating a problem that’s been building for years.

by Aubrey Hirsch

Future Perfect

How the US is preparing to fight — and win — a war in space

Even Better

How to make your anger work for you

Future Perfect

We have treatments for opioid addiction that work. So why is the problem getting worse?

View all stories in The Highlight

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