Rumors of a new respiratory disease began to reach northern Haiti through reports from relatives from the diaspora; the subject soon took over radio stations, virtual communication apps, and everyday conversations in rural neighborhoods and popular markets. The need for social distancing, however, was met with skepticism—not out of disbelief in its effectiveness, but out of resignation to a situation that did not seem new. In this article, I look at the history of past epidemics in Haiti and how these experiences shaped the way people reacted to the arrival of COVID-19 in the country. Through ethnographic data and recent conversations with Haitian friends, I argue that the general feeling of immobility caused by the pandemic intensified a political and existential situation defined as lòk. Nevertheless, it was through a popular epidemiology centered around the household (lakou) that people were able to cope with this new virus. While discussing creative forms of dealing with this sense of stagnation, I try to show that mobility is a form of vitality, creating and structuring life even in situations of radical uncertainty.

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