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The lesson of the second wave is that we must demand lasting political change | Nesrine Malik

We are battling a global pandemic with temporary fixes, avoiding the question of why we were so vulnerable

The pandemic has now been with us so long that it can be measured by its own seasons in the public mood. At first there was shock and fear, at the novelty of the virus, the speed of its global spread, the sudden revelation of our vulnerability. Second, a longer season of anger and frustration: at the lack of PPE, the deaths of NHS workers who perished on the frontlines, the chronic frivolity of a prime minister who tried to jape the virus away, the incompetence and the cronyism, at the late-autumn rise of a second wave that was far from inevitable.

And then, by early December, a third season – of tentative hope and relief, as lockdowns eased and vaccine trials succeeded, with Christmas around the corner. “The scientists have done it!” declared a triumphant Boris Johnson. “We’re no longer resting on the mere hope that we can return to normal,” he declared, “but rather the sure and certain knowledge that we will succeed, and together reclaim our lives.”

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