I wanted to mention two books that I recently finished; both are about the COVID pandemic.
The first one is The Premonition, and the second is The Plague Year. It may feel that it’s “too early” to write books about the pandemic, especially because we are not out of it yet. But I think that both books are very timely.
As you can imagine, the contents of both books overlap significantly, but even when they talk about the same events, they view them from slightly different perspectives. The first book focuses more on the political side of things, Trump’s inadequate response to the thread, and the health care officials who stood up against it. The second book touches more on science, epidemiology, details of vaccine development.
Both are very informative. Some things I learned:
- that the vaccine was technically “ready” before the start of the pandemic; the scientists had to plug in the genome details; that’s why it was developed so fast
- that most of the decisions about opening/closing/guaranteeing, which looked erratic at least, were based on multiple AI models. For example, there are certain estimates on the effect of schools closing depending on the level of infections at the time of closing.
- more detail on the shortage of swabs for tests
- why there were so many questions on the origin of the virus
And many other things!
Also, these books allowed me to recall the events of the past sixteen months, how our knowledge about the virus changed, and how and why the health officials’ guidelines evolved.