Commentary: The Longevity of the COVID Emergency

Two years after COVID burst on the American scene, leading to lockdowns, school closures, mask and vaccine mandates, and trillions of dollars in emergency government spending, the question on many minds is: When will the emergency end?

The answer to that question is not an easy one. An examination of past emergencies does not resolve it. Rather, it is clear that emergency situations, including this one, may be understood through various lenses, yielding different perspectives on what the endpoint will be.

Take, by way of comparison, World War II, an emergency that had at least four distinct endings because it had at least four distinct faces:

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