Twelve days after his wife died of the coronavirus, increasing the enormous toll in the United States by one, Michael Davis, dazed and grieving, went back to work.

He hoped that his job, at an assembly plant in Louisville, Ky., would keep his hands busy, which might then occupy his mind, too. Maybe it would ease his longing for Dana, 51, a nurse with blonde hair and a bright smile. They were just shy of their seventh wedding anniversary when the coronavirus took her life.

But at work, it felt like the pandemic was the only thing people could think about, the center of conversation at his sprawling factory. And on the news, every story seemed to be about the coronavirus.

“Everything’s corona, everything’s corona — that’s all you hear about all the time,” Mr. Davis said. “You don’t want that reminder all the time of why she’s gone.”

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