About three months into the pandemic, I found myself standing at the window of my condo near downtown Washington, D.C., cradling my newborn. Outside, the sun was rising. The world seemed plastic. Nothing moved. Absent the usual commotion of honking cars, barking dogs and fast-walking humans, the empty thoroughfare was as quiet as a photograph, yet somehow eerie, as if a black-and-white still of a barren nighttime scene had been colorized and converted into day.

Tope Folarin directs the Institute for Policy Studies.

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