As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nears 27 million, there is a rush to answer (what next) and a rush to act (to solve the immediate problems of COVID-19). This paper discusses, with a specific focus on urban areas in the global South, what is missing to date from this response. That includes an identification of things that there are too much of, things that are not being done at all, and things that are unbalanced. There has been an enormous upsurge of academic research papers and opinions on COVID-19. “Technological” and “scientific” solutions tend to overshadow other approaches, even if people know that “social is important”. Based on our analysis to date, our primary concern is that there is too little understanding about the importance of building dialogue, exploring collaboration and co-producing solutions. There is too little understanding as to why social and cultural responses are important, and how the recognition that they are important can be actioned.