“Politicians who pretend that ‘normal’ is just around the corner are fooling themselves or their followers, or perhaps both,” said Thomas Davenport, the president’s distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

“People who suffer tragedies eventually return to their previous happiness level,” Davenport said via email. “But I think that COVID-19 is a little different, because we keep expecting it will end soon. So there is no need to permanently change your attitudes about it.”

The human tendency to believe change is temporary and that the future will again resemble the past is often called “normalcy bias.”

People who don’t adapt to change believe what they remember as “normal” will return, and delay modifying their daily routines or outlook. Those who refuse to wear masks may be guilty of normalcy bias, Davenport said, since they perceive this intrusion into lives as a passing fad they don’t need to embrace.