The ongoing pandemic.
Our journals of the plague year start this week. Coronavirus went pandemic, and the investors’ bull market turned free-falling bear. In the conversation market, the monopolist Donald Trump is upstaged after 5 years, by a microscopic bug out of China. We’ve seen Italy’s hospitals sinking under the viral load, and satellite photos of mass graves being dug in Iran. Pro-basketball shut down for the season, and college kids got told not to come back after spring break. Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive in Australia, and Americans found they couldn’t get tested at home. Offices and factories shut down, and some people got to love “telework.” Coincidentally maybe, Bernie Sanders’s campaign got crushed at the same time coronavirus made its case for socializing medicine.
Like nothing we’ve known or imagined, COVID-19, the novel virus, has arrived: the invisible bug that feeds on human lung tissue, the coronavirus, the omnidirectional killer and crisis that could feel more like a tsunami hitting than war breaking out. It is successor to epidemics like the modern ebola and SARS and the ancient bubonic plague. Its global spread has been formally designated this week a pandemic. But almost all the rest of the coronavirus is yet to unfold.
Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology at Harvard.
Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard.
Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard.