Anne Thériault reports on the virality and success of coronavirus-themed toys and wonders at the never-too-soon appeal of cutesified horrors. Especially these squishie mini plague doctors [Amazon].
Something about the Mysterious Doctor Plague made me want to hug it, and based on my social media feeds, I know I wasn't the only one who had succumbed to its charms. After admitting to myself that I wanted one, my main misgiving was that the producers of the toy, a US-based company called Squishable, might be trying to profit off of the mounting COVID-19 death toll. I was reassured when I checked Squishable's website and read that they had originally designed it for Halloween 2020; at least it wasn't intended to be a pandemic-specific product. But, until I spoke to Squishable cofounder Zoe Fraade-Blanar, I had no clue how important this fluffy little plague doctor has been for the company.
Personally I'm fond of my amigurumi coronavirus stress ball.