Two years ago, under a directive from the Trump Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pulled back from thirty-nine of the forty-nine countries where it had been working to prevent global disease outbreaks. Since then, the World Health Organization has documented an increase in localized outbreaks of several diseases, including Ebola, yellow fever, and measles. In January, the W.H.O. declared the outbreak of what has come to be known as the COVID-19 virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, a global health emergency. Nearly three thousand people have died from the virus, and, as of Friday, more than eighty thousand were believed to have been infected worldwide. This week, we’re bringing you a selection of pieces on pandemics and other contagions. In “The Dead Zone,” Malcolm Gladwell recounts the lessons of the 1918 Spanish-flu epidemic, which killed between twenty million and forty million people. In “The Ebola Wars,” Richard Preston chronicles the efforts of scientists who have been working to sequence Ebola’s genome and help prevent further outbreaks. Jiayang Fan writes about the difficulties of families seeking treatment for the coronavirus in China, and Nicola Twilley reports on a pandemic simulation that yielded less than desirable results. In “It’s Spreading,” Jill Lepore explores how misinformation about epidemics can proliferate. Finally, in “Nature’s Bioterrorist,” Michael Specter examines attempts by health officials and infectious-disease experts to prevent a dangerous avian-flu pandemic. The world can be a scary place. These pieces show that scientific ingenuity and responsible public-health policy are some of the best weapons we have to combat the spread of contagion.

—David Remnick


Seven bodies buried in the Arctic tundra might solve the riddle of the worst flu pandemic in history—and might help us prevent it from happening again.


Under normal circumstances, China’s centralized system perpetuates a cycle of inefficiency and frustration. In an emergent global health crisis, however, it could cost lives.


Photograph by Palani Mohan / Getty

2020欧洲杯最新战况A fictional outbreak revealed vulnerabilities that are hardwired into the American system.


2020欧洲杯最新战况Outbreaks, media scares, and the parrot panic of 1930.


Photograph by Dan Winters

How genomics research can help contain the outbreak.


Illustration by De Loustal Jacques

2020欧洲杯最新战况Is there any way to prevent a deadly avian-flu pandemic?