• Mon. Feb 6th, 2023


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The Covid-19 Pandemic Has Lasted 2 Years. The Next Steps Are Divisive.

Residents in Elmhurst, Queens, one of the city’s neighborhoods hit hardest by Covid-19 during the early months of the pandemic, were particularly wary. Neha Shah, 25, worried about her diabetic father, and said she had been trying to avoid tightly packed restaurants and cafes.

“I just feel like it’s for public safety,” Ms. Shah said. “I’m not OK with them being dropped.”

For Emily Suardy, a barista at Furman’s Coffee in Brooklyn, masks could not come off soon enough. They made work in her small coffee shop hot and uncomfortable, and she felt safe going about her daily life given that she and her co-workers, friends and family were vaccinated.

Even if there is a spike in positive Covid-19 cases or another variant pops up, she said, she would be reluctant to go back to masking up inside unless the city reinstates its mandate.

“I’m really tired of it,” Ms. Suardy said. “If it’s not mandatory, I won’t use it.”

That was not the case with one of New York’s most well-known recovering Covid-19 patients, the Broadway icon Patti LuPone.

For two years, Ms. LuPone said she had taken every precaution. But as Omicron ebbed, she said, she had started going out and grown a bit lax about mask-wearing. Then, late last month, she tested positive before a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” and had to leave the theater.

For 10 days, Ms. LuPone had to isolate, a lady who lunched alone in her apartment as she coped with flulike symptoms and fatigue.