Being Cosmopolitan and Anti-Cosmopolitan: The Covid-19 Pandemic as a Cosmopolitan Moment

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After its initial outbreak in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, People's Republic of China, by April 2nd, 2020 the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) had spread to over 200 countries and territories across the globe. In fact, by this date there were 928,437 confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide and 46,891 deaths, although with variations in testing practices in different countries we cannot assume that such figures capture the full extent of this pandemic.

Recent news from Iceland has suggested that in wider population testing by the biopharma company deCODE, around 50% of those who tested positive were reportedly asymptomatic. It is perhaps not first and foremost in our minds at this time, but the rapid spread of Covid-19 in fact reveals how globally interconnected we all are. In a world constantly on the move, this virus has spread from a localised epidemic to a global pandemic shockingly quickly. Indeed, as we (humans) collectively took over 4 billion trips by air in 2019, a viral ‘infection in all but the most remote corner of the world can make its way to a major city in a day or less’. Because we are so mobile, diseases are too. This global interconnectivity presents humanity with a level of risk that we now confront in all aspects our lives. This risk has given rise to a ‘cosmopolitan moment’, which I will reflect upon in this short piece.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Sociologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020
MoE publication typeD1 Article in a trade journal

Fields of Science

  • 5143 Social and cultural anthropology

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