The spread of a virus like the coronavirus is not limited by administrative and cultural boundaries. There is, however, a significant difference in how cultural communities interpret diseases, symptoms, treatment, and recovery. Csaba Mészáros, a senior researcher at the Institute of Ethnography of the Research Center for the Humanities, has shared the experience of his many years of fieldwork among Yakuts living in Northeast Siberia.

Differences in perceptions of disease and treatment can be traced back to how people in a given culture think about existing groups and their perceptions of the human body and soul. Even if the biological facts of an infection are the same, the process of illness and recovery, as well as the procedures for prevention and treatment, may be different.

Read Csaba Mészáros’s report on how the Yakut people understand the relationship between body, spirit and health and a unique situation like the coronavirus epidemic.