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Though the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in some countries, other nations are already showing signs of a new post-pandemic normal. To learn more about how the pandemic continues to affect people in different ways, we have devoted this issue to personal stories from our colleagues around the world.

The messages from Australia, India, Mexico, and Serbia are snapshots in time. From Goa, India, where COVID-19 fatalities are breaking records, Manuela de Souza remarks that her country feels like a “bad dystopian novel, because at the moment we could lose anybody.” From Mexico City, Mauricio González Lara describes the life of his hipster neighborhood, La Roma. From Sydney, where days have returned to near-normal, Karlis Salna writes of his unease watching the pandemic flare in Papua New Guinea. And from Belgrade, Ivan Miskovic checks in with friends who own businesses—some teetering on the edge of failure, some achieving unprecedented success.

We learned a lot from zooming in on the details of these lives, and we hope you will, too.

– Christina Nelson