“At the nursing home where Linda Long works, masks are still required, and she’s not sure if she’ll ever work without a mask again. Washington facilities restrict visitors whenever there is a COVID case; there were more facilities with active cases in February than any previous month, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services.

Long wants to feel good about relaxing restrictions, but she’s skeptical.

‘It only takes one thing to upset the apple cart, so to speak,’ she said. ‘I would very much like to be in the norm, but only after we can get the epidemic taken care of and controlled. And I don’t think it’s controlled. There are so many variants that keep coming. How can we control it?’”

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