3.5 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Remember 2019? Everything seemed normal back then but little did we know what was about to arrive. I can’t remember the first time that I had heard about this unusual SARS-like illness that had appeared in Wuhan in China, but I think that it was February. The last event that I went to with people was the Stanford Travel Writing Awards at the end of February. Ironic given that travel and many other things would be shut down a couple of weeks later.

I remember seeing what was happening in Italy and thinking that it might arrive here but really didn’t know what to make of it. Leading epidemiologist Professor Mark Woolhouse learned of a new virus that had appeared in China in early January. He wrote to the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland recommending that they should prepare and got a polite reply that basically said that everything was in hand.

It wasn’t…

In this book, he critiques the way that the UK government tackled the situation fairly, praising them for the things that they did well and rightly criticising them for the many things that they did poorly. He explains his reasoning for not having lockdowns and the immense damage that they cause society as a whole as the ongoing mental health issues that are going to take a long time to cure. He sets out what he considers the procedures and protocols that should have been used instead and how these could have protected people instead of ending up with the frankly horrendous death toll that we have in this country.

I thought that this was a well written and considered book about the UK response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Throughout the book, Woolhouse is very clear on his position on lockdowns and the damage that they cause and he makes a very strong case for his way of thinking. His writing is pragmatic but he occasionally ventures into fairly technical jargon, but thankfully it is not very often. He does say that next time and there will be a next time for this type of medical emergency, we need to do things much better and move much faster in our responses.

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