“This One in China Felt Different”
Reflecting on state of the COVID-19 pandemic and what society must do to prepare for future global crises.
On New Year’s Eve, 2019, Jeremy Farrar became one of the first people in the world to learn of a new viral pneumonia that was sickening people in China. Farrar was sitting in an airport lounge when his colleague George Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, called him to talk briefly about this disease cluster, but Gao didn’t sound alarmed. To Farrar, however, with his expertise in infectious disease, this outbreak “felt different,” as he recounts in his new book.
His concerns, of course, proved well-founded. As the seriousness of the novel coronavirus became apparent, Farrar, the director of the London-based Wellcome, one of the world’s largest philanthropic funders of science, helped shape the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Issues recently spoke with Farrar to get his insights on the future of the pandemic, its roots in changes in how humans interact with nature, and the uniquely globalized challenges of COVID-19.
Artwork by Shonagh Rae