A SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
'Superb ... It is tremendous fun, tremendously told' Tom Whipple, The Times
'A fluid intellectual thriller' Daily Telegraph
From the global bestselling author of The Big Short, the gripping story of the maverick scientists who hunted down Covid-19
'It's a foreboding,' she said. 'A knowing that something is looming around the corner. Like how when the seasons change you can smell Fall in the air right before the leaves change and the wind turns cold.'
In January 2020, as people started dying from a new virus in Wuhan, China, few really understood the magnitude of what was happening. Except, that is, a small group of scientific misfits who in their different ways had been obsessed all their lives with how viruses spread and replicated - and with why the governments and the institutions that were supposed to look after us, kept making the same mistakes time and again.
This group saw what nobody else did. A pandemic was coming. We weren't prepared.
The Premonition is the extraordinary story of a group who anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus; who understood the need to think differently, to learn from history, to question everything; and to do all of this fast, in order to act, to save lives, communities, society itself. It's a story about the workings of the human mind; about the failures and triumphs of human judgement and imagination. It's the story of how we got to now.
'Lewis is a master of his form' Sunday Times
Maverick doctors, scientists, and public health officials took charge of the fight against Covid-19 when the CDC and the Trump administration failed to act, according to this illuminating rehash of recent history. Lewis (The Fifth Risk) spotlights a group of doctors who overcame bureaucratic inertia and conventional wisdom to write the U.S.'s pandemic response plan in 2007, after President George W. Bush read a history of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and asked what the government would do in such a scenario. Carefully reinterpreting data from 1918, Veterans Affairs official Carter Mecher and other group members developed a "Swiss Cheese strategy" of multiple social interventions (school closures, bans on group gatherings, etc.) layered on top of one another to contain a disease outbreak until a vaccine could be developed. In January 2020, Mecher used sketchy, incomplete data emerging from China to forecast the spread of Covid-19 in the U.S., and shared his findings with California deputy chief health officer Charity Dean, who eventually convinced Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue the country's first statewide stay-at-home order. Though the book's first half is somewhat slow-going, Lewis draws vivid profiles of Mecher and Dean, in particular, and litters the narrative with lucid explanations of epidemiology, disease modeling, and genomic sequencing. Readers will be aghast that these experts weren't leading the battle from the start. \n