A Letter From Shanghai, Where a Powerful System of Control Prevails Over COVID-19

A Mother and Her Daughters Return Home to a Careful Regime and a Changed City

On March 15, I flew home to the U.S. to bring my daughters back to Shanghai. The sharp contrast between the way China has sought to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and the way the U.S. has handled the disease so far has been alarming.

My family has been navigating the shifting geography of COVID-19 for months, as the virus first emerged in China, our country of residence, and then moved onto our native home, the United States. We’re Americans with a home in Virginia, but a couple of …

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A Letter From Bonn, Where Quiet Calm Meets COVID | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Bonn, Where Quiet Calm Meets COVID

A Powerful and Transparent Health System—And a Confident Chancellor—Counteract a Crisis

As a resident of Bonn, a small college city that once served as West Germany’s capital, I know something about calm and its connection to health.

I live a brisk walk …

A Letter From Sacramento, Where Fear Grows as Flowers Bloom | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Sacramento, Where Fear Grows as Flowers Bloom

A Survivor of 1954’s Polio Epidemic Welcomes Social Distancers to His Garden

SACRAMENTO—Our front garden hit peak bloom just as the COVID-19 death toll passed 200 in California. As usual, the California golden poppies seized control of the gravel borders along the …

A Letter From Mumbai, Where Everyday Questions Carry New Weight | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Mumbai, Where Everyday Questions Carry New Weight

For Muslims in India, Lockdowns May Unleash Something More Dangerous and Discriminatory Than a Virus

On local trains, I used to overhear phone conversations. Fights, flirtations, and often the question: Khana khaya? Did you eat?

Mentally, I’d roll my eyes. If someone asked me, my …

A Letter From France, Where the Future Is Now | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From France, Where the Future Is Now

On Parisians’ Eighth Day of Confinement, Banging on Pots to Cheer on Medical Staff

Early this morning, I was jogging around the perimeter of the Buttes Chaumont, a now-closed park near my house, when I saw a man on a bicycle. He sailed down …

Just Before Madrid’s Quarantine Began, Getting a Last Look at Goya | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter from Madrid, Where Impending Quarantine Permits a Last Look at Goya

In Times of Uncertainty, Art Is a Reminder That Beauty Can Endure

The day the Spanish government announced a two-week closure of all schools and colleges in Madrid due to coronavirus, I was in Berkana, the city’s oldest gay bookstore, considering whether …