The year 2020 has played havoc with the plans of most people throughout the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn a sharp dividing line between what was “before” and what came “after”. Naturally, an event of this scope should end up in the focus of expert opinion, as should its social and political consequences. Therefore, during 2020, the first year of COVID-19, the Valdai Discussion Club repeatedly turned to the analysis of various aspects of the pandemic. In this collection, we decided to collect together selected texts published on our website on this topic.
Their authors represent different countries and regions throughout the world; in some ways their views and points of view on the pandemic coincide, in some ways they are opposites. But this is precisely what makes it possible to more fully reflect the broad and sharp debate that began in connection with the search for optimal responses, among states and societies, to the new threat. This search, as we all understand, is by no means complete. We also found it important and interesting to arrange the authors’ texts in our collection in chronological order and present them exactly in the form in which they appeared on our website, without editing or changing anything in them. It is clear that now in many texts written in the first half of 2020, one can see, from the point of view of our current knowledge about the epidemic, that some are excessively alarmist while others are too reassuring in their assessments. It is possible that some authors today themselves would not agree with them. But this just shows the lively and very rapid evolution of expert approaches during the first year of the pandemic.
Several periods can be distinguished in this chronology of expert assessments of the pandemic.