The book under review suggests ways out of what is possibly one of the worst crises of the 21st century. The author compares the situation to a war and also finds similarities with the 2007-08 economic crisis. He attempts to address the fallout of the pandemic, its historical context and puts forward the emerging challenges and potential solutions.
The book begins with the science behind viruses and gives a historical background to pandemics. This part is very well covered and readers will find it very informative. The later chapters delve into the government’s response. The author critically evaluates the measures undertaken by governments and their prognosis of the situation. It is unsurprising as to why our country is struggling and is unlikely to emerge from the crisis any time soon. The distress of the people has reached unparalleled levels due to the dogmatic approach to addressing the crisis resulting in rising unemployment, growing under-employment and a steep rise in the number of people below poverty line.
The book documents country-specific responses to COVID-19. Certain countries did better, for example, South Korea, Taiwan, Scandinavia and New Zealand, but several did badly. The US’s premature unlocking created a bigger crisis, and so was the case with Brazil which never bothered with a lockdown. India appears to be on a similar path due to its flip-flop policies. This was likely to cause the spread of the virus to a larger population, as predicted by the author. Though the book covers the period prior to the second wave, its predictions came true in April and May of 2021 in India.