But the American public seems to be over the pandemic, eager to get kids back in schools, ready to hit the bar scene and hungry for Major League Baseball to play its abbreviated season.

The startling divergence between the brutal reality of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the fantasy land of a forthcoming return to normalcy has public health experts depressed and anxious about what is to come. The worst is not behind us, they say, by any stretch of the imagination.

“It’s an absolute disconnect between our perceived reality and our actual reality,” said Craig Spencer, a New York City emergency room doctor who directs global health in emergency medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. “To look at the COVID case count and the surge in cases and to think that we can have these discussions as we have uncontrolled spread, to think we can have some national strategy for reopening schools when we don’t even have one for reopening the country, it’s just crazy.”…

“It’s like a learned helplessness when we’re not helpless,” Drenner said. “There are some pretty effective strategies, but we don’t seem to have the political will to do it.”