Research Article

Politics of Covid-19: A Study of the Role of the Global Powers in Combatting the Pandemic


  • Osantha Nayanapriya Thalpawila Department of Political Science, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya 11600, Sri Lanka.


The Covid-19 pandemic, having convincingly proved its deadliness, has become the most significant global calamity experienced to date in the 21st century. The Covid-19 virus outbreak besides affecting the health of people across the world seriously has also badly disrupted the economies of all countries, and the livelihoods of their citizens. The most recent data from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has indicated that most of the lower to upper-middle-income countries have been significantly impacted by the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic. This has prompted a concerted effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the major world powers to combat the spread of the Covid-19 global pandemic. In combating this pandemic, the world powers have a responsibility to collaborate with the WHO, as they wield a lot of power in the decision-making process at a global level. The aim of this study is to examine the international cooperation that has been taken forward to combat the ‘Covid-19’ pandemic in the context of management of major calamities by the global powers. The study focuses on the 18-month period from December 2019 when the pandemic first broke out, to June 2021. The study is based entirely on secondary data collected from the reports and documents of involved organizations and the media. The leaders and people of the USA and some Western countries did not provide adequate support to contain the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the early stages. They used the disparaging term ‘Chinese Virus’ to refer to the deadly virus, which President Trump wholly underestimated and treated as a minor irritant. Further, avoidable mass gatherings contributed to repeated outbreaks of the virus, which spread from country to country. Mass rallies were held protesting the lockdowns by raising the issues of liberal democracy and individual freedom. Although several high-income Western countries developed vaccines to arrest the pandemic, the distribution of vaccines was not done in a fair and equitable manner. The WHO policy on the distribution of vaccines was undermined due to the “Vaccine Politics” of the world powers. The other aspect of Covid-19 politics was that the pandemic had given rise to a ‘cold war’ between the major Western powers and the burgeoning Chinese power and influence at the global level. Finally, it must be understood that the global cooperation required to combat the Covid-19 pandemic was badly hampered due to the politicization of the programs planned for this purpose during the first year of the pandemic.

Article information


Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies

Volume (Issue)

3 (7)





How to Cite

Thalpawila, O. N. (2021). Politics of Covid-19: A Study of the Role of the Global Powers in Combatting the Pandemic. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Studies, 3(7), 25–35.



Combat, Covid-19, Outbreak, Pandemic, Vaccine, WHO