Paying Homage to The Hot Zone

We should have never forgotten Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story. Now the U.S. and the world are living through the pandemic Preston warned everyone about.  

Over 20 years ago, he changed are outlook about viruses in his 1994’s nonfiction book by writing in the form of an entertaining detective novel.  Using an entertaining writing style, the following key events happen to prepare us for today.

-Convinced the U.S. government to look at emerging diseases as a National Security issue.

-Increased intervention and funding in global phenomena of diseases

-Governments understood key steps to take immediately to slow the spread, such as publishing  travel advisories, enacting quarantines, and closing borders.

-Hollywood movies’ Outbreak and Contagion utilized The Hot Zone in the creation of the script, giving the public a general awareness about pandemics and what to do (even if sensualized in the films)

What happen then?

We forgot. 

After 2017, politicians proposed cutting funding to health professionals specializing in combating global viruses.  The U.S. federal government disregarded pandemics as a national security threat.  China neglected to outlaw exotic meat markets, which was the origins to this virus, as well as other viruses that have threaten to spread into pandemics. 

It’s time to read The Hot Zone again and remember its lessons. 

It’s not new that governments have used entertainment (novels & movies) to prep its citizens for major changes or crisis, but in this case, Preston’s work helped prepare the government for this inevitable moment.