Epidemics and Society: History shows they are here to stay

Book review: Snowden explains diseases are not random events triggered without warning

Gloucestershire doctor Edward Jenner giving Parisians  immunity to smallpox  by “vaccinating” with a small dose of cowpox. Photograph:  Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Gloucestershire doctor Edward Jenner giving Parisians immunity to smallpox by “vaccinating” with a small dose of cowpox. Photograph: Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

“Who would have thought?” mused US president Donald Trump of the rapid and destructive spread of Covid-19. All across the globe states and societies were taken by surprise and exposed. Yet the danger of a pandemic was long foreseen.

The CIA and other intelligence agencies ranked it one of the greatest threats to national and global security, while scientists have warned for decades that the question was not if, but when.

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