Medical Anthropology in the Time of COVID‐19


In different ways and for different reasons, a sense that the COVID‐19 pandemic has changed everything has come to dominate public, personal, and intellectual life. The pandemic continues to precipitate simultaneous dread over what is to come and loss over what appears to be gone forever, including loved ones, ways of life, and conceptual and literal safety nets. Over a year has passed since the identification of the virus as a human scourge, but the Damoclesian shadow of the pandemic continues to haunt the world. The social entanglements it created have been both for better and for worse, but they have always exceeded the pathogen’s physical effects on bodies. Anthropologists recognize in these patterns not only a rupture but also the familiar, as if what can be seen now is not new but has simply been made clearer.