I finished watching the HBO series Station Eleven this week. The TV show is based on the 2014 novel by Canadian writer Emily St. John Mandel and it’s about survivors of a worldwide flu pandemic that quickly wipes out about 99 per cent of the earth’s population. We’ve all used TV as an escape pod during the pandemic as the real world closed in around us. So why watch a show about a fictional pandemic amid an actual pandemic? I was hooked on the complexity of the story, the wonderful cinematography and incredible performances by the main actors – Himesh Patel, Mackenzie Davis and Matilda Lawler.

In the series, the flu is so virulent that billions of people are killed within a few days. There was no chance for science to come to the rescue with a miracle vaccine. As survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic, some day we may realize we truly live in miraculous times. And yet, the news this week focused on those who continue to ignore science – putting themselves at risk as well as adding strain to health care systems that have been overwhelmed for two years.

Québec has decided it will tax those who haven’t yet received the jab. Other countries are bringing in strict vaccine mandates. And Australia is in an incredible showdown with the world’s No. 1 men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic, who is also quickly establishing his status as the world’s No. 1 anti-vaxxer.

For your weekend reading, I’ve assembled stories from across the global network of The Conversation that give you the latest on Djokovic (as well as a great explainer on the politician who wants him out of the country), contemplate the legality and ethics of vaccine mandates, provide insight on citizenship education as a way to get people to do the right thing – and a great read on the lasting effects of “long COVID.”

I’ve also added a wonderful story about the Canadian scientists who won the 1923 Nobel prize for the discovery of insulin – this week marked the 100th anniversary of the first person to receive insulin as a treatment for diabetes. The author of the story, Kersten Hall of the University of Leeds, writes that scientists of the day noted that insulin would only be effective if patients changed their lifestyle by exhibiting discipline and responsible behaviour. He notes that’s still true today.

“The truth is that, as much as we may wish for technological solutions to do all the heavy lifting, they can only be effective when they are accompanied by changes in our behaviour.”

Someone should tell that to Mr. Djokovic.

Have a great weekend. We’ll be back in your Inbox on Monday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Weekend Reads: Getting tough with the anti-vaxxers

Novak Djokovic’s visa cancelled ‘in the public interest’, with possible 3-year ban from Australia

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The government has been anxious to ensure a second visa cancellation could withstand a fresh challenge from Djokovic’s lawyers.

Why one man with ‘god-like’ powers decides if Novak Djokovic can stay or go

Mary Anne Kenny, Murdoch University

The personal powers of the immigration minister to grant or cancel visas are extremely broad and powerful. And this isn’t the first time they’ve courted controversy.

Novak Djokovic has long divided opinion. Now, his legacy will be complicated even further

Daryl Adair, University of Technology Sydney

With his Australian visa now cancelled for a second time, the tennis star will likely not be able to chase history at his most successful Grand Slam tournament.

In a pandemic, ignoring science affects everyone. Citizenship education can help ensure that doesn’t happen

Evan Saperstein, Université de Montréal

The failure to observe public health protocols during the pandemic requires attention and action. Revitalizing global citizenship education in schools should be part of addressing the problem.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates would likely face legal hurdles in Canada

Hilary Young, University of New Brunswick

Can the government mandate vaccines? Canadians have rights to make decisions about vaccination, but these rights are not absolute, and do not mean those decisions will have no consequences.

Long COVID: For the 1 in 10 patients who become long-haulers, COVID-19 has lasting effects

Manali Mukherjee, McMaster University; Zain Chagla, McMaster University

Not much is known about “long COVID,” including who, when or how badly it will strike, how long it might take to recover, or whether complete recovery is possible for all.

Parents were fine with sweeping school vaccination mandates five decades ago – but COVID-19 may be a different story

James Colgrove, Columbia University

Public health experts know that schools are likely sites for the spread of disease, and laws tying school attendance to vaccination go back to the 1800s.

Has the pandemic fundamentally changed our ethics?

Hugh Breakey, Griffith University

Through lockdowns, vaccine mandates and the spectre of mass death, the pandemic has uprooted our lives and challenged us to think differently about ethics. What might the future hold?

Weekend Long Read

The discovery of insulin: a story of monstrous egos and toxic rivalries

Kersten Hall, University of Leeds

Meet the feuding scientists who battled for credit over the discovery of insulin.

The Conversation Weekly podcast

Crypto countries: Nigeria and El Salvador’s opposing journeys into digital currencies – podcast

Gemma Ware, The Conversation; Daniel Merino, The Conversation

Plus, a philosopher explains the history of the idea that we might all be living in a simulation. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.