vaccine passports
Photo credit: Jernej Furman / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Welcome to WhoWhatWhy’s weekly COVID-19 roundup. There’s a lot of virus coverage out there, so this feature will give you a dose of the latest news.

Lately, everyone (and by everyone, I mean the New York Times) wants to discuss the ethics of vaccine passports. The advent of vaccine passports has become a more tangible issue in COVID-19 discussions, now that folks in the US are being vaccinated. But conversations about requiring vaccination documentation have been circulating the media for months, including what this would look like if proof of immunity was digital. It goes further than that, though: requiring medical documentation is a concept that dates back centuries, as reported by WhoWhatWhy.

While officials and health organizations figure out the best tactic for this new social dilemma, the state of the airline industry remains up in the air. Airline stocks have recovered much of their pandemic losses, in part due to billions of dollars given by the US government, begging the question: was this a strategic move, or a bailout? Perhaps this is one reason the industry’s ratings have decreased since 2019; that, and probably the fact that air travel has contributed to the spread of COVID-19 and all of its variants. 

But forget about airplanes — the movie industry has had an even greater fall from grace in the eyes of Americans. Many of us are still furious that drive-ins didn’t have a comeback. We had a whole year to watch from our quarantine-cars and to forget our COVID-19 grief for a couple of hours — but no, movie industry, you denied us this solace. And that is why I and so many others gave you the thumbs-down. 

In all seriousness, though, movies have been a blessing and an escape in our socially distanced world — and have become a medium to investigate the dynamics of the time we live in. 

It is possible, after the staggering toll this past year has taken, that March will never feel the same again. While it’s difficult to pin an anniversary date on a pandemic, a year has passed, and as Corinne Bailey Rae reminds us: “The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same.” Workers are still fighting for hazard pay in many occupations. Travel is still not considered safe, even if you are vaccinated. Some precautions have been eased as we’ve learned more about the virus: schools have been able to reopen, at least partly. Of course, some precautions, like wearing masks, will continue for a long time. Perhaps a year has been long enough to adjust to that change; then again, I wouldn’t get my hopes up yet. 

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Flickr.

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