Crossing the globe like the Black Death almost seven centuries ago, Covid-19 is the latest front in humanity’s long battle against infectious disease. In the contemporary context, it is the nation-state that has taken the lead in the fight against the pandemic. Almost everywhere governments have deployed a similar set of extraordinary public health and economic measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its consequences. Such extraordinary measures, however, entail significant risks for fundamental human rights and pose radically new challenges for democratic institutions and practices.