When the novel coronavirus arrived in the United States, it hit an economy, a society, and a constitutional democracy that were fundamentally unprepared. As the extent of the challenge became clear, the country simply could not deliver what was needed to confront it: a large-scale program of testing and contact tracing, which would have suppressed the virus and allowed the economy to remain open. Just as the 2008 financial crisis exposed blind spots in how countries thought about integrated markets, within the first three months of 2020, the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus—with the massive spike in

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.

Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.

  • DANIELLE ALLEN is James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
  • More By Danielle Allen