Many argue the coronavirus pandemic has defined 2020 across social, political and economic spheres, we ask: how does it compare to previous pandemics? What are its implications for climate change, our political systems, and the way we live?
Our curated list of coronavirus debates goes deeper into why and how, this novel virus is transforming our world.
COVID-19 has been devastating, affecting people across the world and killing thousands. However, it is far from the first pandemic of its kind. From the Spanish flu to the bubonic plague, throughout history pandemics have killed huge amounts of the population. Is the coronavirus pandemic the worst in history? Or have previous pandemics been worse?
World leaders now describe Covid-19 as the ‘silent enemy’. Several have called the pandemic a ‘war’. For the first time in history, every nation on Earth is battling a common foe. What this will mean for globalisation remains unknown. Global connectivity is, on the face of things, being eroded, as free movement stops and people ‘stay and shelter’. Yet, the world is also increasingly united, as triumph depends on cooperation.
As covid-19 hit the headlines and became a national emergency in India, Islamophobia surged. On Twitter, furious posts poured out of the nation with the gruesome hashtag #CoronavirusJihad. The inference was clear: many Indians were using the pandemic as an excuse to victimise its Muslim population. Critics claim its government has done little to stop this, while others say the threat is exaggerated.
Lockdown makes no exceptions for belief. In March 2020 the now iconic image of Pope Francis praying to an empty St. Peter’s Square hit the headlines. For the religious, it soon became emblematic of solidarity in isolation. Mass gatherings are now out. Places of worship, prayer groups, pilgrimages, weekly rituals and door-to-door evangelism have now been outlawed in many countries. It may be many months before Covid-19 ceases to be a threat. When it does, how will it have impacted religion?
COVID-19 has torn through the fabric of our lives all over the world - with over 20M cases and nearly 1M deaths, and a global collapse in GDP that is historically unprecedented. Will it have long term impact, and what will that look like - economically, politically, and socially?
Studies since the COVID-19 outbreak have uncovered interesting revelations about human psychology. How is quarantine affecting mental health? Which groups are the most psychologically affected? Is the virus changing how our brains are wired?
Covid has inevitably created a recessionary crisis and Governments will be under intense pressure to restore growth. But if its growth at all costs And/or simply reverting to the way it was it will be a lost opportunity to seek a more equitable model. A model that is also attuned to the larger existential issue of climate change. Any new post Covid martial plan should focus on a progressive model the redressés much of what is faulty and unsustainable. If not, this pandemic will be a forewarning of even more turbulent times to come.
All around the world we are seeing images of emptied supermarket shelves as people prepare for lockdowns. Is it ethical to ensure you have enough supplies for your family without regards to others? Or is it unethical not to think of other (potentially more disadvantaged) people’s needs?
Are diverging policy responses from EU members states causing diplomatic ties to break down? Or conversely, is the shared trauma of the COVID-19 outbreak fostering brotherhood amongst its nations? What will the EU look like once the cure for the pandemic has been found?
Herd immunity strategy has come under scrutiny. Herd immunity assumes a large section of the population will be infected. Rather than enforce lockdown measures, herd immunity encourages social distancing in public places. The aim is to have as many low-risk people infected as possible. Immune people cannot infect others. Therefore, the more there are, the faster we kill its exponential growth, and the easier it will be to treat the vulnerable. The WHO has criticised the approach, as have many others. Is the Swedish government correct?