Justin Reid, a structural engineer in Meadowbrook, Ala., has been frustrated by the possibility of a mask requirement in his 4-year-old daughter’s preschool — so much so that he has decided to keep her home if necessary.
“I’m not subjecting her to that when I don’t have to,” said Mr. Reid, who said he had been vaccinated.
There will be no immediate fix for the pandemic, experts said, and no promise that the current surge will be the final one.
“I think we’re definitely at risk for being in a very unsatisfying, muddling-though kind of state for a while,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Still, there remains the prospect, as more city councils vote to require face coverings and more people decide to get shots, that the pandemic’s course will eventually feel more upbeat, more like it did when summer started.
“I’m hoping March of next year that we’re having a very different conversation, that we’ve gotten through it,” said Cory Mason, the mayor of Racine, Wis., where masks are once again mandatory. “I think that’s the one thing that everybody agrees on: Can we just get back to a place where Covid isn’t dominating so much of our time and our lives?”
Mitch Smith reported from Overland Park, and Julie Bosman from Chicago. Reporting was contributed by Sarah Bahr in Indianapolis; Sydney Cromwell in Birmingham, Ala.; Grace Gorenflo in Aberdeen, Wash.; Daniel Heyman in Charleston, W.Va.; Timothy Pratt in Atlanta; and Emily Shetler in Portland, Ore.