Reactions to dramatic change don't always go the way people might hope they would.
Logically, with the experience of the pandemic, countries around the world would see the need for more co-operation rather than less to recover from the coronavirus and avoid another one.
Instead unilateral actions and bans have been common as countries have looked inwards and to near neighbours.
A period of further upheaval, regional tensions and increased nationalism may be on the cards.
Tough anti-virus measures and harsh economic realities because of Covid-19 have probably contributed - as the background environment - to weeks of discontent.
From protests over racial justice and coronavirus restrictions in the United States to anger at authorities on the streets of Serbia, Lebanon and Belarus, a lot of frustration and distrust has been expressed through direct action.
In the case of Beirut, last week's devastating explosion added a catastrophe on to an economic collapse and health crisis. World leaders and international groups pledged nearly US$300 million in aid to Beirut, but warned that no money to rebuild the city would be forthcoming until authorities commit to political and economic reforms.
Belarusians were protesting against Alexander Lukashenko, their authoritarian leader of 26 years, who improbably won his sixth term with more than 80 per cent of the vote.
Belarus has reported more than 68,500 coronavirus cases and 580 deaths. Lukashenko, known as "Europe's last dictator", has called Covid-19 a "psychosis". He has avoided measures to stop its spread, saying a lockdown would have ruined the weak economy.
At government levels around the world, the pandemic has resulted in new assessments of economic exposure and supply chains.
For instance, India says it will ban the imports of dozens of items of military equipment in order to boost local production and improve self-reliance in making weapons.
The Financial Times reports that the desire for self-reliance and cost-cutting could mean more than half of pharmaceutical and clothing production will move to new countries in the next few years.
A consultancy report in July predicted that two-way trade between the US and China - the world's two biggest economies - could shrink by about 15 per cent by 2023 from last year's levels.
China's relations with Western countries have been sliding hard, with Beijing digging in its heels after increased scrutiny and pressure on a number of issues.
Having imposed its new security law on Hong Kong in June, local police on Monday arrested nine people on suspicion of violating it, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, owner of the Apple Daily.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the highest-level US official to visit Taiwan in four decades in yet another move China will consider provocative because Beijing claims the island as its territory.
Beijing and Washington are also wrestling over the origins of the pandemic, the South China Sea, cyber warfare, TikTok, Hong Kong sanctions and trade tariffs.
A US intelligence assessment claimed China would "prefer" Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden won November's election even though the former Vice-President is planning a made-in-America push.
Kremlin-linked proxies were working to help President Donald Trump, the intelligence assessment said.
Difficult times are still on the horizon.