Unrolling the Pandemic: Variants and Vaccines

Two aspects of the Covid pandemic dominated 2021. First, the Delta variant of Covid, which was detected first in India in October 2020, spread across the world leading to unprecedented waves of Covid spread across the world. The second was the issue of vaccine politics. 2020 was marked by the race for a vaccine to stop the pandemics, but 2021 opened up to the world that the limits of science will be politics. Companies in different countries would lobby against each other, using their countries to negotiate access and legitimacy of vaccines in different countries. The imbalance in power lead many countries to overstock vaccines, while many poor countries were deprived of adequate access to vaccines.

Second Wave in South East Asia

Many countries in South East Asia have experienced growing political polarization during the pandemic. Most notably this resulted in the coup détat in Myanmar early in 2021. There has been growing support for stronger government action in controlling Covid, corruption and the economy in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines this year. Many of the countries in Southeast Asia were considered successes in the management of Covid, however, the second wave turned out to be far more deadly.

Environmental politics

Environmental politics had become increasingly focused on Global Warming. Though the pandemic exposed the concerns of deforestation and resource shortages in 2020, 2021 saw a refocus on Climate Change as a dominant issue. The UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) showed the importance of the large economies of China, the United States, India, and the European Union in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Recovering the economy

Economically, the global economy shrunk in 2020, while in 2021 it began to grow again, though this has still to show in employment rates, which remain high. The majority of the world’s population now have to see that the recovery is not meant for everyone, but only those at the top. Inequality continued to rise in 2021, with the data industry dominating the accumulation of wealth and power. Amazon, Alphabet, and Reliance all made substantial gains in 2021. Demand for online coordination, retail, and internet-based delivery made 2021 a huge bankroll for these companies. Across the world, these
companies have grown to unprecedented levels, except for those companies based
in China, where powerful anti-trust laws were implemented against the Big Data
companies. With scandals over hate speech and genocidal violence growing across
the world, there has been some discussion on the consequences of unchecked
monopoly power of such industries.


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February 2024



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