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Covid Vaccines Are Coming. A Divided and Distrustful America Awaits.

Others who are eager to get the vaccine fret about being low on the priority list. LaMont C. Brown II, a bus driver in Detroit, said the pandemic had exposed just how little his profession was appreciated. While police officers, firefighters and medical workers are treated as heroes, he hears little celebration of drivers who interact with the public, potentially risking their health.

Now he worries that the same dynamic will play out with vaccines.

He has heard that medical workers and other emergency personnel will be first in line. But he has heard nothing about making sure that drivers get vaccinated soon — not from his union, from the city’s Department of Transportation or from city leaders, he said.

“We’re basically second-class citizens,” Mr. Brown, 55, said.

The arrival of a vaccine is also nurturing talk of a return to normalcy, or something resembling it. Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, California’s chief justice, said she was imagining how the vaccine could change things for the nation’s largest court system, which is grappling with a huge backlog as many crucial proceedings are pushed online.

“If you envision the Supreme Court, every door is open, people are in the hall leaning against doorjambs, talking, chatting, laughing,” Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye told reporters on a Zoom call this week. “That’s now completely absent, and the place is silent.”

She and her colleagues have debated whether judges and other court officers should be given priority for a vaccine. No one, after all, would deny that the courts were an essential function of society.

But Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said she ultimately came to believe that judges could not “stand on title” and be vaccinated before emergency workers and nursing home residents.

“We think that others need to go first,” she said.

Bryan Diaz, 15, of Nuevo, Calif., is also yearning for normalcy. Distance learning has been difficult with his 7-year-old brother, Kevin, vying for his attention, and he misses playing video games and kicking a soccer ball with a friend he has not seen since early in the year.

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