The COVID Spectrum brings together a diverse range of essays from five continents on the pandemic that plunged the world into an unprecedented crisis. Important questions raised and sought to be answered in the first section of the book straddle the personal and political, as well as the economic and ethical: How can we prevent social collapse when all human life isn’t equally valued? What does it mean to be a more caring society? Are our healthcare systems prepared for another such shock? Can we continue to be driven by the ‘market’ or do we need a more normative economics? How do we deal with conspiracy theories and misinformation in the digital age, especially in emergencies like this one? And have physical distancing norms and video calls led to a fundamental break in the way we communicate?
The second section of the book shows how, through all the chaos COVID has engendered, people across nations and cultures have found it within themselves to courageously wade through the troubles. We see how the Cubans managed the infection, how the citizens of Hong Kong stood by each other, and how the head of state of an East African island nation showed us what it means to be a servant leader. Psychotherapists try to figure out ways of battling isolation-induced stress. Policy experts argue what we can do to alleviate the shocking exclusion suffered by marginalized sections during the pandemic. And regular individuals learn the value of being there for each other.
The world changed in 2019. What we collectively witnessed wasn’t just a medical emergency, but a social and economic and conceptual breaking point. This anthology expresses the hope that the ‘Great Reset’ which lies ahead could be a real and enlightened one, if we try.