“Then, an invitation arrived in my inbox: BE A CENSUS TAKER…At $25 an hour, the work was a potential lifeline. As a journalist, I was intrigued by the possibility of observing the enterprise—’the federal government’s largest and most complex peacetime operation,’ according to the National Research Council—up close. How, I wondered, could the government safely send hundreds of thousands of people to knock on doors across the country in the midst of a pandemic?”