Endemic: A Post-Pandemic Playbook (Hardcover)
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Endemic aims squarely at reckoning with our present condition: comprehending and living with a new respiratory disease and how to face the coming variants and next pandemic with reason, science, understanding, courage, and compassion. It does not shy from rigorous scrutiny, and it pulls no punches about where we have been, where we find ourselves now, and how we ought to manage the virus in the coming years.
"Endemic" refers to an Infectious Disease practitioner's knowledge of what features of a virus make it both "eradicable" and which features make it "controllable." These two things translate to becoming endemic or having achieved endemicity. As for eradicable viruses in recorded human history, only smallpox has reached this status. The features of SARS-CoV-2 make it non-eradicable. However, living with an endemic virus and using the tools we do have is possible and does not have to be disruptive to society. Instead, it becomes the "problem" of the medical community. We must first acknowledge that the virus is endemic and not eradicable. This takes a shift in both mindset and policy. Secondly, we must understand that we now have a greater knowledge of pathogens allows us to prepare for future variants, and for future pandemics.
This book is a clarion call for reason while also assessing the story, science, and politics thus far with its hits and misses, and providing a roadmap for the future of COVID-19 variants and future epidemic crises. Dr. Gandhi's 10-point plan is the center of this book and will serve to guide us today and into our future. Her roadmap includes:
- the expansion of equitable vaccine distribution
- easing restrictions
- emphasising harm reduction over coercive or punitive measures
- encouraging outdoor activities
- avoiding school closures
- understanding the long-term economic and psychological consequences of sustained lockdowns
- eliminating ineffective measures
- reassessing testing policies and practices
- increasing access to outpatient therapies and prophylactics
- focusing on better preparation for future pandemics
About the Author
Monica Gandhi, M.D. is Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at UCSF/ San Francisco General Hospital. She also serves as the Director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research and the Medical director of the HIV Clinic at SFGH ("Ward 86"). Dr. Gandhi completed her M.D. at Harvard Medical School and then came to UCSF in 1996 for residency training in Internal Medicine. After her residency, Dr. Gandhi completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, both at UCSF. She also obtained a master's in public health from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 with a focus on Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Dr. Gandhi is arguably among the most distinguished infectious disease experts practicing today as well as being one of the few women with such a recognized platform. She supervises many predoctoral students, fellows, residents, and faculty at UCSF and has co-authored or contributed to 18 scholarly books. She is overseeing 11 ongoing research awards and grants from the NIH and the NIAID. Dr. Gandhi has received dozens of awards, spoken at hundreds of conferences, keynoting many, held a handful of prestigious leadership positions, performed thousands of hours of public service, and served as a mentor and advisor to women in global health research studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has contributed more than 20 original, peer-reviewed research articles and written more than 40 editorial and opinion pieces for media outlets including The New York Times, NPR, NBC News, BBC, Atlantic, Washington Post, New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, Vox News, WIRED, and more. She lives in San Francisco with her family.