The Pandemic – A Year of Mistakes
This is an anniversary book – a grim year since the Covid-19 virus first landed on our shores. Time for some context before the comment.First, we take a look back a century to the last major global pandemic – the ‘Spanish Flu’ outbreak of 1918-1920 which killed 100 million worldwide. In his seminal book, The Great Influenza, John M. Barry looks at when it landed in the USA. We reprint an extract with his permission.
Secondly, Dave Miller has been providing a simply stunning visual guide to the pattern of the UK pandemic in previous volumes. He is the visual Boswell of this modern plague. Here, he tracks the big ups and downs (and there were plenty of those) in the last twelve months in Cartoons. It is a unique record.
Finally, in this section, a very careful and thorough piece of journalistic research by Liz Gerard. In ‘Day by Day – As the Virus Came to the UK’, she goes back to prime sources – newspapers, broadcast outlets, Hansard and more – to track day-by-day what was said a year ago. The virus came in by stealth but the relevant political and health authorities seemed determined to downplay it and look the other way. The long-term results of that myopia were, and are, disastrous.
There are also contributions from: Clive Myrie. BBC presenter, John M. Barry. Author, The Great Influenza, Vicky Pryce and Prof. David Bailey. Economists. Juliet Rix. Writer, Paul Corrigan. Former adviser on health to Tony Blair. John Lister. Editor, The Lowdown, Dr Steven McCabe. Birmingham City University, Nigel Willmott. Former letters editor, The Guardian, Andrew Beck. China specialist, John Mair, Dr Alex Connock. University of Oxford, Paul Connew. Media commentator, Tom Felle. National University of Ireland, Prof. Julian Petley. Brunel University, London, Prof Chris Frost. Liverpool John Moores University, Angela Antetomaso. Forbes magazine, Dr Hongsong Shao. ZUMC, China, Nick Miller. The Age, Melbourne, Ya’acov Zayel. Israeli journalist, Maurice Smith. Former Business Editor, BBC Scotland, David Banks. Former Editor, the Daily Mirror, Prof. John Howson. Oxfordshire County Councillor and Prof. Barnie Choudhury. University of Buckingham.
The context is there for the tragedy that was to follow.