While researching historical plague during a pandemic has been a strangely soothing experience for me, I’ve been told it has made me rather difficult to talk to. “You keep saying the situation isn’t as bad as the literal Black Death, like that’s a comfort,” a friend said, making it clear that it was not at all a comfort, that she had learned more about the symptoms of bubonic plague than she cared to, and could we perhaps talk about something else?

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