Editorial: Illness, Narrated
Stay healthy, stay safe. The new closing remark to many emails, phone calls and conversations is telling of a radical change in the perception of illness that took place during 2020/2021. Living and working through the COVID-19 pandemic have given a new urgency to the commonplace phrase, adding weight to an offhand farewell. This new signature does more than wish the other well; it also acknowledges a communal present that affects everyone, from the individual to national societies and global relations. Health, and its precarious situation, has found its way into people’s homes, where incidences, virologists’ opinions and mutant forms are discussed over dinner. “Stay healthy” indicates our hopes for the other not to be infected; “stay safe” marks our hopes that they keep viral threats at bay. The realities of constantly being on a spectrum of health and illness has intruded on daily life and gone beyond conversations with medical professionals or intimates to become ‘the talk,’ a communal and shared present.