Checkmate, again?
Down To Earth|November 16, 2020
THE NEXT PANDEMIC IS NOT FAR AWAY
BANJOT KAUR

WHILE ENGAGING in discussions on covid-19— vaccines, therapeutics, second or third waves, re-infection or re-opening the economy—we tend to overlook critical aspects, including where we went wrong, and what can be learnt from our mistakes to prepare for future pandemics. Debora Mackenzie, a journalist working in the area of infectious diseases with New Scientist for 36 years, chronicles the world’s response to covid-19. And as experts worldwide have been warning, she too forecasts an impending flu pandemic in her new book, covid-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One.

Mackenzie has to cut short her holiday when she got her first alert on December 31, 2019 on ProMed—an online volunteer forum to monitoring reports of new infectious outbreaks. It was an alert hard to ignore. She then describes her travails in sourcing information from China, a country notorious for concealing information. Even during the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (stars), China took two months to disclose it to the world by which time the infection had spread to other countries.

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