Jabs in arms. Masks coming off — hesitantly for some, more vigorously for others. Gatherings with family and friends. Dining in restaurants, traveling, even returning to special spaces and places reopening from pandemic restrictions.
The coronavirus still infects and kills, but the decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. over the last several months has been precipitous. Risks still remain from dangerous new variants, but as vaccination rates steadily tick up, it is beginning to feel as if there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
Over the last several weeks, photographers from NPR member stations fanned out across the nation to help document what this new phase of the pandemic is looking like. They captured moments of caution and joy, exuberance and relief, as COVID-19 restrictions began to lift.
Here is a glimpse of what they saw: