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SARS, MERS, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Connie Goldsmith

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-72842-888-8
Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

A general look at the Covid-19 pandemic and response from the first cases through early 2021.

Despite the title, the primary focus here is on the global pandemic that began in late 2019 rather than the science of this class of viruses. Medical professional Goldsmith opens with an account of Dr. Li Wenliang’s realization in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, that he was seeing patients with a respiratory virus similar to SARS. A discussion of the comparative construction of bacteria and viruses offers little to help readers understand how viruses work, and the explanation of the difference between RNA and DNA viruses is cursory. The SARS, MERS, and HIV viruses are also described. Goldsmith addresses the practice of mask-wearing, the global spread of Covid, anti-Asian attacks, and why the pandemic disproportionately affected people of color in the U.S. Long-haul Covid is briefly touched upon. Due to the timing of the book, information about vaccines and their efficacy rates in preventing severe illness and death as well as about Covid variants is, not surprisingly, already incomplete. This condensed account of how the pandemic escalated and what the responses—public health, governmental, social, and political—looked like in the U.S. and around the world throughout 2020 already feels dated and largely ends with the announcement of President Joe Biden’s pandemic strategy in January 2021.

Mostly useful as a historical snapshot of the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

(glossary, source notes, bibliography, further information) (Nonfiction. 12-16)