Whem I travel to Helsinki in late January to meet Sanna Marin, the millennial feminist environmentalist who had just become prime minister, the world looked so different than it does today. Back then, reports were slowly beginning to circulate about a strange, deadly virus in China, but it all felt very far away. Finland, like many European countries, receives its fair share of Chinese tourists, and Finnair has had popular direct flights to China. In central Helsinki, I saw groups of Chinese tourists lining up outside the Louis Vuitton shop, some wearing masks, but I didn’t think much of it. That was before the new normal of life amid a global pandemic arrived with stunning speed, upending so many of our assumptions and taking thousands of lives. Protecting and caring for citizens in the time of the coronavirus has challenged political leaders around the world unlike anything since World War II, as German chancellor Angela Merkel put it. Back when I met Marin, all this was yet to come.
Click here to read the full article published by Vogue on1 April 2020.