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The phenomenon is in the name: novel coronavirus. This is new. And not just for doctors and scientists. This is new for all of us, from presidents scrambling to make the right choices (or lurching towards the wrong ones) to desperate breadwinners trying to figure out how to feed their families.

Our relationship with infection, too, has been jolted into a new phase. Until 2020 the world and its predatory particles seemed clear. Close to us, all around us, most of the time, were illnesses that were unpleasant but, for those with intact immune systems, clean water and pharmacies, not particularly frightening...

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