As a Professor of Microbiology, with elderly parents and children it was with considerable personal interest that I read this book. As Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet one should listen and reflect on Richard Horton's opinions which appear haunted by the frightening messages he received from front line health care workers in the UK over the lack of preparedness and PPE, followed by their avoidable deaths.
The book has 7 chapters, and is short at 127 pages plus references which have been kept to primarily peer reviewed papers. I took me just over one evening to read. Chapter 1 ‘From Wuhan to the World’ sets the scene with a timeline of events from 30th December 2019, including the WeChat message of Li Wenliang, through to WHO notification on 1st January, the WHO declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30th January, and the predictive epidemiology work of Gabriel Leung’s group in Hong Kong. The shadows of SARs, Ebola and Zika are very evident in the decision making by the numerous political and health groups, and the path that Tedros Ghebreyesus WHO’s Director General has tried to take.
The book progresses with coverage of the various lockdown approaches adopted by various governments and their affect to the date of the book. Richard defends China’s approach against many of the criticisms, but not all. He is also highly critical of Donald Trump’s approach within the US and in particular his intended withdrawal of funding from WHO, which Richard describes as ‘a crime against humanity’. As for the UK, the PM is criticised and U-turns listed. But so too are parts of the UK scientific community criticised. Those named include the medical Royal Colleges, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Medical Association, Public Health England, the Faculty of Public Health, King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust. Why? Because of their deaf ears to the WHO’s declared PHEIC. The SAGE committee is also criticised for their initial anonymity, inclusion of BREXIT advisor Dominic Cummings and the lack of experts in respiratory and intensive care medicine. SAGE members are regarded as being too dependent upon Government funding to rock the boat. The final chapter ‘Towards the Next Pandemic’ emphasises the need for change, the recognition of inequality and lack of adequate funding for social care. Unfortunately at a time of ‘One Health’ we need the recognition of ‘One World’ in order to prepare for the next pandemic, instead we have an unhealthy polarisation of countries.
As given before the book is short and aspects I would have liked to have been expanded upon include (1) Why WHO’s advice on ‘test, test, test’ was not initially undertaken in the UK (2) The accuracy of early test kits used in China, Japan and USA (3) The story of Diamond Princess (and other cruise ships) and the studies which have been done on the transfer of the virus via staff, food, and air.
Due to space constraints I can only give a taster of the book, but I hope it has encouraged you to read it for yourself and reflect on what needs to change if we are to survive the next potential pandemic.
The COVID-19 Catastrophe: What′s Gone Wrong and How to Stop It Happening Again Inbunden – 18 Juni 2020
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- Utgivare : Polity Press; 1:a utgåvan (18 Juni 2020)
- Språk : Engelska
- Inbunden : 140 sidor
- ISBN-10 : 1509546456
- ISBN-13 : 978-1509546459
Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.
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Dr David E. Ward
A hurriedly put together account of early days of Covid-19Granskad i Storbritannien den 26 oktober 2020
A hastily put together review of the catastrophe so far. I don’t disagree with any of it (apart from the obviously outdated statistics) but would it not have been better to wait a while? Another example of Dr Horton’s haste to publish perhaps (see his book MMR about the vaccine “Doctor” Wakefield and how the paper that set off a plague of measles deaths was published in Horton’s journal , The Lancet)
Pleasant readGranskad i Storbritannien den 12 augusti 2020
We all know the disastrous response of the UK gov to the Coronavirus pandemic. This book runs the timeline in different countries. Very easy read and no sugar coating. Nothing new of course but interesting to read.
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If you want to know what really happenedGranskad i Storbritannien den 26 juni 2020
Very easy read, packed with sobering facts and figures, highly critical of governing bodies, touched some deep philosophical questions, but not all is bleak and gloomy - our species can make big changes if there's a collective will.
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Paul H. Davies
The truth will outGranskad i Storbritannien den 6 augusti 2020
A very good account of the many mistakes made by government and the authorities by an expert.Chilling account of how unprepared we were and how wrong choices cost unnecessary lives and livelihoods.