The Virus and Us

Max Cohen
Jacob Cohen
Kaylee Renaud
May 27, 2020

The Virus and Us is an animated instructional video created by Jacob Cohen, Kaylee Renaud and I (Max Cohen) to help kids understand the coronavirus pandemic. The short film focuses on the nature of the virus, what is currently being done to fight against Covid-19m, and what young people can do to help, too. Originally written as an eBook for a contest through the Emory University Global Health Institute, the project was later adapted into an animated film. Due to the limitations of quarantine, the creators had to find fun and unique ways to collaborate while working on the creative project remotely.

Download the book as a PDF

The Virus and Us is divided into four parts. The animation begins with an explanation of the basic symptoms of the virus so that kids are able to identify the signs in those around them. The second section, focused on healthcare workers, is meant to reassure kids that if someone in their family gets sick there are people who can take care of them. This segment also introduces a character wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in an effort to familiarize young people with safety gear and give them a sense of what it looks like. The third section shifts to what can be done by everyone–at home and throughout the world–to help prevent the spread of infection. The final section demonstrates the power of the individual during this pandemic, highlighting the ways in which people everywhere can work together to protect one another from contagion. It concludes with a message of hope: that we will all be able to celebrate, and mourn together, when the time comes. Our goal was to provide a glimpse of that feeling we are striving toward and to imagine the elation we will all feel when the pandemic finally comes to an end.

Although some places around the world are attempting to end shelter-in-place restrictions, the need for physical distancing and other harm-reduction strategies will persist into the near future. Children are capable of influencing the world around them and we wanted to give them knowledge to feel safer during this difficult time.

Thanks for watching,

Max

Jacob Cohen

Jacob Cohen

Jacob Cohen is a Brooklyn-based experimental cellist, visual artist, NYC subway performer and found-object instrument maker. His drawings of young inmates on Rikers Island were featured in an exhibition at the Queens Museum titled Dispatches from the Ghost Ship. 

Kaylee Renaud

Kaylee Renaud

Kaylee Renaud is a high school student from upstate New York. She has written two novels and one play, she is actively involved in her school theater, and is currently working on multiple writing and art projects.

Max Cohen

Max Cohen

Max Cohen is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. His work includes a community mural project at the Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology in Albany, NY and an award-winning animated film The Tale of the Goat (2004). See more @nehocrxam.

More Content...

The Zines of Terezín

Matthew Stadler, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 
Illustrations: Ken Krimstein, Chicago, United States 

The sixth piece in our Polity of Literature series: Terezín was a purpose-built ghetto the Nazis used as a smokescreen for genocide. 33,000 Jews died there and another 88,000 were sent on to the death camps. More than 7,000 of...

Brutal Kindness

Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, Vancouver, Canada 

We welcome you to our country Our borders open only to a few We ask for nothing in return, except That you recognize the deepest wisdom That when in Rome you should pay tribute to the Romans Therefore, you must...

Tactics and strategies of racialized artists:
some notes on how to circumvent the art world’s terms of inclusion

Yaniya Lee, Toronto, Canada 

I have been thinking about what it means to be a racialized person in the arts, and what kinds of tactics and strategies we’ve developed to move through these spaces. We wear politics on our skin; to be racialized is...

Cidade Queer // Queer City

Danila Bustamante, São Paulo, Brazil 

Bodies that listen, dance, resist, manifest and become visible in our contemporary city. Bodies that dance the sounds of funk music, rap, samba, voguing, waacking, among other sonic styles of contestation, resistance and struggle. Through talks, dinners, experiences and exchanges,...