Some Triangle residents hopeful for eventual return to normalcy after pandemic; others expecting ‘new normal’


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The coronavirus pandemic has changed lives in many ways. Masks are required in many places and activities are either curtailed or eliminated altogether.

The pandemic has been going on for months. Many people are now asking when will life return to the way it was before COVID-19?

The phrase “social distancing” didn’t exist prior to COVID-19. Some Triangle residents like Nick Hofer believe those days will return.

“We’ll eventually get back to that but it will take time,” Hofer said. “It’s a step-by-step-thing.”

He said that, as far as he is concerned, he’s willing to wait it out no matter how long it takes. But how long might it be before handshaking and hugs are normal again?

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that Phase Two in North Carolina will be prolonged until at least July 17. He also mandated masks across the state.

Elsewhere, the New York Times asked a group of 511 infectious disease specialists when they expect a resumption of activities without an effective COVID-19 treatment or vaccine.

  • 42% said they would hug or shake hands for more than a year
  • 43% said it would be more than a year before they would attend religious services
  • 64% said they would wait more than a year to attend a sporting event, concert, or play

John Garland, another Triangle resident, is pessimistic about returning to the old way of life.

“If they don’t come up with a vaccine or cure, we won’t be able to socialize anymore,” he said.

Even without a vaccine, some states are already allowing more and more activities. Many of them are paying the price in the form of increased infections and hospitalizations.

Experts say there can’t be a universal standard for returning to normal.

“Every epidemic is local, so you really cannot make any generalizations based on time,” said Professor Jeffery Klausner, who is an epidemiologist with UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health.

Many Triangle residents said they’re waiting on a vaccine, which they believe will go a long way toward things returning to normal.

“They’ve got to find a cure,” said Shelton Nicholson. “Until they find a cure things, may stay this way for a while.”

Amy Howell said the most frustrating thing about not being normal is having to deal with her kids.

“I have three children in school and that’s the most difficult thing — having them home when you’re trying to work,” she said.

The lack of normal lifestyles for many has caused lots of frustration, experts found. Many recommend setting aside time for yourself. Even if it’s a few minutes, it can help reduce anxiety.

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