After the Deluge: Comparative Politics of the Coronavirus Pandemic

06 May 2020

(TRT World) If we take March 12th, the day the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak to be a pandemic, we have entered the second month of what appears to be the first pandemic that has been captured and covered, almost synchronously, around the world. This is certainly not the first, and unfortunately extremely unlikely to be the last, deadly pandemic in human history. As of April 28th, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic is reported to have killed approximately 211,000 people around the world. From the Black Death of the 14th century to the Spanish Flu of the 20th century, many other pandemics killed far larger a proportion of the world’s population than the coronavirus is likely to kill.

There are nonetheless several peculiarities of the coronavirus pandemic, which might lead to greater transformations in domestic and international politics than those triggered by previous pandemics in the modern age such as HIV/AIDS or the Spanish Flu. The most immediate difference is the instantaneous global media coverage and the concomitant battle for interpreting the unfolding of the pandemic. Not a day passes without speculation about grandiose political and world-historical transformations the pandemic might trigger, although commentators differ greatly on what those transformations might be. [...]

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