Improvement may be slow. But experts think human interaction will, eventually, return to the pre-pandemic status quo. The rise in disorder may simply be the unsavory side of a uniquely difficult time—one in which many people were tested, and some failed. “There have been periods where the entire nation is challenged,” Insel said, “and you see both things: people who do heroic things, and people who do some very defensive, protective, and oftentimes ridiculous things.”

Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World.