Author Michael Lewis on highlighting the unsung heroes of the pandemic in new book: ‘They get no credit’

Virgin Radio

8 Jun 2022, 10:58

Michael Lewis with Chris Evans

Author Michael Lewis joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky this morning to talk about his new book The Premonition: A Pandemic Story and the importance of acknowledging the unsung heroes.

The book, which is being turned into a film, follows the true story of a group of scientists and doctors who anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus and their attempts to get the US government to take it seriously.

Lewis has previously said he wrote the book as the pandemic was unfolding and was inspired by the people who had been working in disease prevention way before coronavirus.

He told Chris: “It was a catastrophic response we had in our country. We had all the resourced in the world to deal with this thing. We had 4% of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s deaths.

“How that happened was the question, and the answer resided in the life experience of these people who were kind of nobodies, and before the pandemic, these people were expert in trying to stop people from sickening other people, and they were under resourced.”

He added: “They had some legal authority but no social power. They had no ability to stand up and have people listen to them.”

For Michael, it was about drawing attention to these people who had been doing important work all their career but would only get recognition when things went wrong.

He explained: “If they stop people from big from getting ill, nobody notices it. So, they get no credit for that. And anything they do that disrupts people's lives, causes controversy. So, you had to have people who were willing to lead and cause some controversy to save lives.

“They get no credit.”

The author went on to outline how this particular group in the book were aware of coronavirus and the devastating impact it could have at the beginning of 2020 after doing the rough calculations of how quickly it could spread.

Despite the evidence they gathered, the US government still didn’t listen to them.

Lewis added: “At the bottom of it all, the characters in this book, they're doctors, you know, they aren't lawyers, or politicians, they're doctors who somehow found their way weirdly, into public service. They come at it from the perspective of a doctor, they're not thinking like, what are the political consequences of what I'm doing? They're just trying to save people. And the story that's so shocking is how we got in their way.”

As previously mentioned, Lewis’ book is being made into a film, to be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Cast and release date has yet to be announced.

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story is out now in paperback.

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or  catch up on-demand here