For America, the pandemic might be fading. For places like southwest Missouri, this year will be worse than last. July 16, 2021 By Ed Yong The summer wasn’t meant to be like this. By April, Greene County, in southwestern Missouri, seemed to be past the worst of the pandemic. Intensive-care units that once overflowed had emptied. Vaccinations were rising. Health-care workers who had been fighting the coronavirus for months felt relieved—perhaps even hopeful. Then, in late May, cases started ticking up again. By July, the surge was so pronounced that “it took the wind out of everyone,” Erik Frederick, the chief administrative officer of Mercy Hospital Springfield, told me. “How did we end up back here again?” The 1918 flu pandemic took Missouri by surprise too, says Carolyn Orbann, an anthropologist at the University of Missouri who studies that disaster. While much of the world felt the brunt of the pandemic in...
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