Since January 2020 our lives have been defined by the waxing and waning of infection numbers, the media reports on the pandemic, and by the scientific research attempting to manage and explain it. For anthropologists, whose research takes place in the “laboratory” of social life, there is no ignoring the crisis that COVID-19 has brought with it. In ordinary times, the central activity of their work is immersing themselves in the world of the everyday, in rituals, customs, and habits. But for nearly a year, the limits placed on social interaction have been limiting their possibilities to conduct research. Even in lockdown, however, anthropologists remain keen observers of social behaviour and change. During the past weeks, MPI researchers Ursula Rao, Biao Xiang, Günther Schlee, and David O’Kane have reflected on the effects of the pandemic around the world. Their podcast and blog contributions look at greeting customs, new forms of mobility and migration, and the value of local communities in the face of international threats.