Societal Vulnerability and Resilience in the COVID-19 Crisis
De Marchi, Bruno
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Despite the possibility of a pandemic had been seriously considered in professional circles, most governments were taken by surprise by the rapid diffusion of the SARS CoV-2, from first reports in China (December 2019) to the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic by the WHO (11th March 2020). The same was true for the majority of citizens, unfamiliar with the word pandemic and its meaning. The nightmare scenario of a collapse of the health services and its consequences led to the adoption of measures that impacted very heavily on peoples’ daily lives and required great efforts of adaptation with a high toll on the econom-ic, social and cultural spheres. The paper focuses on some of the major vulnerabilities hig-hlighted by the crisis, from the limited knowledge on the virus and the pandemic to the many uncertainties regarding the response of the human systems and their capacity to cope. Some positive short-term responses are identified, while long-term resilience remains doubtful, including the stability of democratic processes.