Fintan O’Toole: Five things we learned from the pandemic

From fake news and racial stereotyping to wealth inequality, the pandemic has taught us a lot about what thrives in a global crisis

If we are now in the endgame of the Covid pandemic, this might be the time to ask: what have we learned? Plagues are tests, and some of the results are quite clear. Here are five of them.

1. The nation state is still primary

One of the paradoxes of the pandemic is that it has been at once utterly global and intensely national. On the one hand, the virus spread with unparalleled rapidity. The sheer scale of foreign travel and the depth of interconnectedness meant that not just the original strain but most of the successful variants made light of geographic distance. Likewise, and in spite of vaccine chauvinism, the scientific response has been international, with data being shared more quickly and thoroughly than ever before.

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