This is a brilliant book and it’s enlightening to read the truth about recent events free from the bias of the right-wing media, right-wing politicians, and the conspiracy theorists.
The author is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, which has published much of the research describing the human impact of Covid-19.
The author looks at the actions governments took and more importantly didn’t take, to try and combat this virus. What hit me was how little action governments in the West took compared with their counterparts in most of Asia and how disastrous this inaction turned out to be for their populations.
The Chinese seem to have learned a lot from the SARS outbreak of 2002-03 and as soon as officials in Beijing were notified about the virus in Wuhan in early January 2020 they passed this information on to the the World Health Organisation. The role of opthalmologist Li Wenliang in alerting people to the virus can’t be underestimated, though the Wuhan Communist Party did try to gag him, making Li sign a statement saying he would stop spreading ‘rumours’ about the virus. This story makes you wonder how long the virus was circulating in Wuhan prior to Li’s alerts.
The WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern 4 weeks later and the world was put on alert. Certain countries acted more quickly than others. One of the slowest was the UK government run by that chancer Boris Johnson who did nothing for 5 weeks apart from say that herd immunity was the way to go before doing one of many U-turns.
Richard Horton highlights the good and the many bad aspects of this pandemic and tries to look on the positive side and how we can learn from this as a planet. It’s to be hoped we can elect politicians who prioritise equality and people over favouring the wealthy and profits. It’s up to us to elect the right people otherwise another pandemic will happen again in a few years.
It’s ironic that the latest geological period has recently been called the anthropocene, dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, and yet along comes a virus to show that we’re not as indestructible as we thought.