by Debora MacKenzie
Reviewed by Linda:
Author MacKenzie is a distinguished British science journalist. She gives a broad overview of how the pandemic began in China and spread throughout the world. Her writing is clear for readers without a science background. She explains the disease's origin in bats (and proposes ways to keep bats and humans separate as more diseases may spread to humans from that mammal). She explains what emerging coronaviruses are and why they are emerging now and that we should be on guard for more. She compares COVID-19 to other similar diseases including SARS, which had a higher death rate but did not spread as rapidly. Scholars knew, she emphasizes, the grave risk a new coronavirus could pose but unfortunately in 2020 most governments with pandemic plans had based them around the flu, which requires different strategies. Among other facts, COVID-19 is ten times more deadly than the flu.