Second draft of history: what lessons are there from the extraordinary experience of the last two years? This week Reaction marks the lifting of the final Covid-19 restrictions in England with an assessment by our writers of how the pandemic reshaped our politics, medicine and attitudes to risk.

Just before the first lockdown in Britain, as much of Europe went into various versions of national quarantine, it felt inevitable that the rather queasy atmosphere of early March would be the prelude to some form of lockdown. I attended an international rugby match in a full stadium on March 8 2020 and I have never seen anything quite like those rows of middle-aged men in the communal loos frantically scrubbing their hands at the half-time interval. Our half-in half-out “flatten the curve” strategy did not seem to match the scope of the drama unfolding across northern Italy, where the health system had come under the most severe pressure, and a mounting sense of mayhem was taking hold across global financial markets.