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This paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global cities. In particular, the paper revisits and updates the academic literature on global cities and focuses on the discussion of the resilience and fragility of global cities in light of an unprecedented global pandemic. By severely testing the strength and durability of the international flow of goods and people, the sweeping scale and intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic directly called into question the thick and complicated network of global cities that serve as modes for international trade and travel. The paper then draws on the impact of COVID-19 on Los Angeles to examine how the pandemic impacted the city’s health, economy, and social fabric. The findings suggest that the international connections of Los Angeles became a source of initial vulnerability but eventual strength as the city managed the health and the economic impacts of the pandemic. However, more complicated stories emerge from immigrant and ethnic communities in Los Angeles. For this “Ethnic Los Angeles,” COVID-19 came to the United States at a time of intense political polarization and severe economic inequality. This polarization and inequality have contributed to Ethnic Los Angeles bearing an unfair share of the burden from the pandemic.

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ⓒ The Author 2022