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“Flatten the curve.” Do you remember that phrase? It was on everyone’s lips back in the spring, when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began rampaging across the world in earnest.

At the time, the idea was that the best way to combat the germ known as SARS CoV-2 was to go home and stay there long enough for hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities to build up the capacity needed to handle the expected flood of new patients. Most of us expected that this departure from routine would be a temporary thing. We hoped it wouldn’t last long — that we’d be able to return to our normal routines after a brief disruption, with confidence that all necessary safeguards were in place.

Of course, it didn’t turn out that way. We spent far more time than we expected sheltering in place, unable to visit friends and family, attend school, or …