The pandemic has caused nearly two years of collective trauma. Many people are near a breaking point.

That danger heightens the feeling of whiplash among people tired of the pandemic’s twists and turns, said Roxane Cohen Silver, a [Distinguished] Professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine. “The news about the omicron variant came right at the time that many people in the U.S. were poised to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones for the first time in a long time,” she said. “It seemed almost cruel that just when ‘normalcy’ seemed to be on the horizon, hopes were again dashed with the latest news.”