Michael Rossi


23 April 2020

Visualising Viruses

On the cover of Le Petit Journal of 1 December 1912, cholera was shown as death personified, black-hooded and skeletal, scything soldiers and civilians to the ground as they fled its advance. Depictions of the virus that causes Covid-19 have not had to resort to symbolism. We know what the pathogen looks like: a ball studded with rococo spikes, the ‘crown’ that gives the coronavirus its name. At first glance, this shift looks like progress.

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