COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One, by debora mackenzie
An urgently written explainer on COVID-19 and viral diseases.
Debora Mackenzie has worked as a journalist with New Scientist for 36 years. Having followed viruses and pandemics for decades, she was approached to write a “crash” book on the subject of COVID-19. The result is a punchy and arresting short history of zoonotic pathogens – diseases that have jumped from animals to humans. The scientific community has been on high alert since 2013, when coronaviruses were first discovered. Meanwhile, the human race went about its business blissfully unaware.
What do we know about COVID-19? That it is almost certain we got it from bats. As human populations expand and move into areas rich in wildlife, the risk of transmission increases. Indeed, the history of agriculture is the history of zoonotic disease.
How do we avert further catastrophe? Essentially, money is needed for research and resources (many governments were caught short when it came to medical supplies). Intergovernmental co-operation is also essential. In a globalised world, a pandemic is everyone’s problem. Most importantly, the US and China need to work together, pooling their scientific knowledge.
With better planning and preparedness, Mackenzie maintains this pandemic could have been stopped in its tracks. That costs money. But as the global economy nosedives, prevention would be cheaper than cure. A pithy primer on pandemics.
COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One, by Debora Mackenzie. Bridge Street Press. $32.99
North Melbourne Books