A pandemic of metrics


The COVID‐19 pandemic prompted critical attention to the performative power of metrics. We suggest that the existential capacities of metrics as a means of pandemic living warrant further consideration. We describe how the COVID‐19 pandemic that came into existence as a public health and political event could only have occurred because of the anticipatory metrical practices that were used to transform SARS‐COV‐2 into a matter of global health concern. By exploring the affective potencies of COVID‐19 metrics we show their abilities to engage the public in ways that cannot be contained; in detailing the narrative arcs created through metrics we show their opportunities, misdirections, and erasures. A pandemic way of life persists: a pandemic of metrics.

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