Baldwin (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) details how nations responded differently to COVID-19’s global outbreak during the initial months of the pandemic. While he focuses on governmental public health actions in North America, Western Europe, and Asia, Baldwin also addresses a range of coronavirus responses in other parts of the world. In addition to this international overview, Baldwin’s text provides historical context surrounding the pandemic response within individual nations. For example, he suggests that Sweden’s decision to leave open some schools and businesses and not require masks was inconsistent with the public health track record of previous Swedish governments. Still, Baldwin concludes that no nation was prepared to handle a public health emergency in which all population demographics were at risk. He adds that COVID-19’s rapid diffusion vividly demonstrates the degree to which all countries are epidemiologically interdependent. Commendably, this well-written book is accessible to all audiences. It is an excellent companion to Debora MacKenzie’s COVID-19: The Pandemic That Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One (2020). The detailed index and Baldwin’s extensive notes are of particular value. This will be a welcome text for use in university public health and history programs as well as an informative resource for general readers.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. Reviewer: R. A. Logan, emeritus, University of Missouri–Columbia Subject: Science & Technology – Health Sciences Choice Issue: Oct 2021
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