The Premonition: A Pandemic Story
New York Times Bestseller
For those who could read between the lines, the censored news out of China was terrifying. But the president insisted there was nothing to worry about.
Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl’s science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu…everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work.
Michael Lewis is not shy about calling these people heroes for their refusal to follow directives that they know to be based on misinformation and bad science. Even the internet, as crucial as it is to their exchange of ideas, poses a risk to them. They never know for sure who else might be listening in.
**Book Title:** The Premonition: A Pandemic Story
**Author:** Michael Lewis
**Genre:** Non-fiction, History, Medical
**Publication Date:** May 11, 2021
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story is a gripping and insightful account of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as told through the eyes of several key players in the United States government. Lewis paints a vivid picture of the confusion, uncertainty, and fear that gripped the nation in early 2020, as the virus spread rapidly and the death toll mounted. He also highlights the role of several individuals who sounded the alarm about the virus early on, but whose warnings were largely ignored by the Trump administration.
The book begins with an introduction to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Messonnier was one of the first public health officials to recognize the severity of the COVID-19 threat, and she issued a warning in February 2020 that the virus "could be a very, very bad pandemic." However, her warning was met with skepticism and resistance from the Trump administration, which was downplaying the threat of the virus.
Lewis then goes on to profile several other individuals who played key roles in the early days of the pandemic. These include Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC; and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Lewis also tells the story of Tara O'Toole, a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, who was one of the first healthcare workers in the United States to contract COVID-19.
The Premonition is a powerful and important book that offers a valuable glimpse into the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lewis's writing is clear and engaging, and he does an excellent job of bringing the story to life. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the pandemic and the challenges that the United States faced in responding to it.