The COVID-19 chasm
The pandemic divides Americans—even Christians
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When Americans turned their gazes toward the coronavirus early this year, many speculated it would wane in the summer heat. Instead, the opposite happened: As temperatures climbed this summer, so have coronavirus infection rates. On July 24 alone, scientists recorded about 74,000 new cases. Though mortality figures haven’t risen as severely, the United States was approaching 150,000 coronavirus deaths as July closed.
Americans are divided over the coronavirus. Some take it seriously; some don’t. Some believe the measures state and local governments have taken to limit its spread are worth it. Some believe they’re overreach.
The three stories on the next six pages examine those divisions but also the ways the coronavirus has changed all our lives. Sophia Lee’s report chronicles groups—especially Christians—who disagree vehemently about how to respond to COVID-19. Lynde Langdon, Sarah Schweinsberg, and Kyle Ziemnick spoke with people in America’s heartland—away from the cities that have received so much media attention—to see how the virus has changed their lives. Finally, Leah Hickman researched ways schools, churches, and businesses have refused all-or-nothing approaches and innovated their way forward—limiting the virus’s spread but not cutting off services (and jobs) for people who need them. Her story also underscores an important point: Americans have faced such challenges before.
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