This paper examines the temporal politics of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that despite the emphasis on digital real-time coverage and epidemiological forecasting, the pandemic has been understood as a historical event, even as it has been unfolding. The paper considers the implications of this ambiguous temporality, suggesting that COVID-19 has made visible a new heterotemporality, wherein real time, history, and the future intermesh. The paper concludes by focusing on Hong Kong, a former British colony and Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China since 1997, showing how the pandemic has become an uncanny rendering of the city’s uncertain future.
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Issue Section:COVID-19 Forum: Pandemic Reading