COVID-19 Forum II: Introduction

This article is part of the following series:

Since the first installation of Somatosphere’s COVID-19 Forum was published on March 6, the cases of confirmed COVID-19 have risen more than ten times, from 100,000 to over 1.1 million, with coronavirus-related deaths rising from 3,400 to over 60,000. With daily new infections in China dropping to near zero, Italy, Spain and the USA have emerged as the largest hot-spots of the disease, and lock-down measures in one form or another have been imposed across the globe. At the same time, we have witnessed governments vacillating over anti-epidemic measures, debates over community testing and the use of masks, the popularisation of epidemiological notions such as “the curve”, China emerging as a “soft”, medical-aid power, balconies becoming stages of solidarity, and also stigmatisation, and the global economy taking a major hit, with millions loosing their jobs.

In the midst of this rapidly changing epidemiological, social, political and economic crisis, the second installation of Somatosphere’s COVID-19 Forum carries interventions by anthropologists, geographers and historians reflecting on local and global developments in the now officially (WHO) declared pandemic. Since early March, a number of papers and initiatives have contributed to an expanding debate on the pandemic from social scientific and the humanities perspectives. This Forum hopes to further enrich these debates and foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on COVID-19 within and beyond the medical humanities.

The COVID-19 Forum II was edited by:

Christos Lynteris
University of St Andrews


COVID-19 and its Impact on the Roma Community: The Case of Spain
Paloma Gay y Blasco and Maria Félix Rodriguez Camacho
University of St Andrews; Universidad de Alicante

Diasporic Cassandras: time, space, and ethos among transnational Chinese and Italians at the time of COVID-19
Teo Benussi and Ruiyi Zhu
University of California, Berkeley; University of Cambridge

Anthropocene Diseased: A Provocation
Mel Salm
University of California, Davis

COVID-19: Social Distancing in Context
Ria Sinha
University of Hong Kong

Model Evidence – the COVID-19 Case
Steve Hinchliffe
University of Exeter

Coronavirus, Cults, and Contagion in South Korea
Heather Mellquist Lehto
University of Hawai’i at Manoa

I Heard it Through the Grapevine: On Herd Immunity and Why it is Important
David Napier
University College London

Franck Billé
University of California, Berkeley

Neglecting the Dead in Times of Epidemics
Gregory Delaplace
Université Paris Nanterre

Seeing COVID-19, or a Visual Journey Through the Epidemic in Three Acts
Cristina Moreno Lozano
University of Edinburgh

COVID-19 and China’s Health Code System
Chris Courtney
Durham University

Frontline. Primary Health Care and COVID-19 in Kenya
P. Wenzel Geissler and Ruth J. Prince
University of Oslo; University of Oslo

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