In 2020 and 2021, humanity collectively lived through the worst pandemic in a century. Most of humanity survived, but many perished. While that is perhaps the most obvious difference in the pandemic-lived experience, it is not the only one. All of us alive today lived through the coronavirus pandemic, but some lived a very different pandemic from others. So much so that Covid-19 was indeed a tale of two (or more) pandemics. As we turn the corner on our second pandemic year, perhaps we should look back and reflect, both on our lived experience, but also that of others. After all, the pandemic is not over and reflection may give us clarity critical for the times that lie ahead. Besides, Covid is not the last pandemic we will face.
While I am no Dr Manette (I hope that doesn’t change), I do hope Dickens and his publishers won’t bear a grudge for borrowing some of his famous words: It was the age of science; it was the age of anti-science. We had all the tools in our hand, we had no tools in hand. It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. It was an opportune pandemic, it was an apocalyptic pandemic. It was a pandemic of stock market gains, it was a pandemic of irreplaceable losses.