When Daniel Defoe described the bubonic plague in London in 1665 . . .

. . . in his Journal of the Plague Year, he pictured a city ‘filled with “the shrieks of Women and Children,” blazing comets, and ghosts walking upon gravestones.’

And we today, in our Day of the Virus?

Our experience of dread, of the uncanny forcing some of us back into our homes, and many of us into our alienated inner lives, is a little different.

The pandemic of 2020 projects its power over us in real time, but unless we’re directly affected—or infected—it comes across to us in means primarily visual and textual.

Eerie panoramas of deserted airports and Instagrammable tourist sites; close-ups of surgical masks in turquoise green and powder blue; images of figures in hazmat suits cleaning up our endless material spill.

And more here about The Pandemic Imagination | The New Republic

Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown

Pay attention to this:

Financial markets paused their slide Thursday, but no one should think this rolling economic calamity is over.

If this government-ordered shutdown continues for much more than another week or two, the human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine.

This won’t be popular to read in some quarters, but federal and state officials need to start adjusting their anti-virus strategy now to avoid an economic recession that will dwarf the harm from 2008-2009.

Who is that big pachyderm in the room with us?

via WSJ

U.S. Sanctions Chinese Companies Over Oil Trade With Iran

Good and very good.

The United States has sanctioned several Chinese companies involved in shipping Iranian oil and financing terrorism, the State Department announced on Wednesday. The measures taken against seven interlinked companies include three mainland China-based firms, three Hong Kong-based, and one from South Africa.

These companies were “engaging in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran,” the State Department said.

Bad guys slowed down for a while. Vigilance at the State Dept., good.