Spike by Jeremy Farrar
Spike by Jeremy Farrar – The Virus vs. The People – the Inside Story, written with Anjana Ahuja is a bit of a disappointment. It has facts and opinions I was interested in, but it also has a huge bias, not great for a respected scientist. So, Macron was conflicted with imposing lockdowns because it’s a hard choice, but Johnson cared too much about the economy and not enough about people. I think both cared about economy and people and a decision this big with so many implications is pretty hard to take. On top of that, Farrar was not sure lockdowns would work in UK/free western world, he said that in the book.
Germany did amazing, but failed to mention when they started their lockdown… on 21st March, 2 days before UK. On the 23rd the Netherlands started their lockdown. Other countries in EU went into lockdown after – Estonia, Romania, Hungary. Hindsight tells us it was a failure, but that doesn’t do justice to the hard decisions all these politicians had to take.
He used what Dominic Cummings said in emails and interviews/blogs as 100% true. This is pretty strange for someone considering that, in reality, what a guy says about another guy might be very close to the truth, but is hardly 100% true. Also, quoting from emails and messages got a bit too much by the end of the book.
I was also annoyed by 2 more things. Firstly, he attacked the government that didn’t ‘follow the science’ and lockdown earlier or for longer. Well, he lives (according to the book) in the leafy Oxfordshire, his lockdown experience might be slightly different than mine in suburban Liverpool and both of ours would be very different from the one experienced by a mum of 3 in a abusive relationship in Croydon. Secondly, he said that it’s not correct that a 30-year old receives a covid jab in UK when healthcare workers in Africa are dying. Really?! I am paying taxes and living under what seems as house arrest for months and when there is a way out… I should give that up. This was coming from someone who already had their vaccine.
Besides these aspects, the book is interesting and I would recommend it, but only if you are happy to go through “the government is bad because they didn’t do what I wanted them to do”. It’s a shame because it was a missed opportunity. I would have liked to read more about what the British government did wrong in a balanced approach and a wider view of what was happening in EU.
Spike by Jeremy Farrar
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My rating: 3/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes-ish
Published by: Profile Books
Year it was published: 2021
About the author: Sir Jeremy Farrar is director of the Wellcome Trust and chair of the WHO’s R&D Blueprint, which activates rapid research in an epidemic. He is an expert on emerging infectious diseases and a member of the UK’s pandemic advisory group, SAGE. He was one of the first people in the world to know about and alert the global community to Covid-19.
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