As far as I’m aware, The New Yorker has only devoted its entire issue to a single story once before, for reporting on Hiroshima. And now it’s done it again for this incredible piece of journalism, The Plague Year. It’s very long, very detailed and very powerful.
There are three moments in the yearlong catastrophe of the covid-19 pandemic when events might have turned out differently. The first occurred on January 3, 2020, when Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spoke with George Fu Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which was modelled on the American institution. Redfield had just received a report about an unexplained respiratory virus emerging in the city of Wuhan.