The COVID-19 Catastrophe: What's Gone Wrong and How to Stop It Happening Again Inbunden – 1 Juni 2020
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―Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health, University of Edinburgh
"The Editor of The Lancet pulls no punches. The pandemic has shattered our belief in Western exceptionalism and exposed the harsh underbelly of global inequality. A must-read."
―Anthony Costello, Professor of Global Health and Sustainable Development, University College London
"Devastating… An incredibly powerful read."
―Piers Morgan, Good Morning Britain
"Vital and up to the minute."
"A polemic of the first order."
"a well-reasoned roar of rage at the failure of many western governments to follow the emerging scientific evidence about the pandemic potential of the novel coronavirus."
―The Financial Times
―Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century
"Blistering but forensically detailed."
Selected as one of the Best Science Books of 2020 by the Financial Times
- Utgivare : Polity Press; 1:a utgåvan (1 Juni 2020)
- Språk : Engelska
- Inbunden : 140 sidor
- ISBN-10 : 1509546456
- ISBN-13 : 978-1509546459
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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.