How to Plan for the End of the Pandemic

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No matter how you feel about politics, there's one thing Americans can probably agree on universally: We'd like for COVID-19 to give us our lives back. Enough with the self-quarantines, the lockdowns, the masks, the social distancing, and the mental and emotional strain of it all. Our economy would look a lot better if the pandemic wound down too. If only we knew how to predict when it would.

The website FiveThirtyEight, famous for its poll tracking and sports data, has collected some expert opinions on the matter, but you're not likely to like what they've determined. Two-thirds of economists surveyed think we're probably not going to see a national economy back like it was until 2022 or beyond. That means continuing to muddle through remote work, high unemployment, increased grocery prices, and all the other indignities of life under pandemic shutdown.

It is true that going hard on combatting the outbreak and finding a treatment for COVID-19 would right a lot of what ails us — a fact made more frustrating by the ongoing politicization of the science of public health in some quarters. While there are individual fixes and hacks out there that may make your day-to-day more bearable for a time, these are massive, multiple systemic failures at play. That means they require system-wide solutions, many of which lie with our elected representatives.

Reach out to local, state, and national officials to make your voice heard. If we all get our act together, we may not have to wait until 2022 for good news.