The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest iteration of what Charles Kenny calls “an unending war between humanity and infectious disease.” His new book The Plague Cycle documents and describes how the course of human history has been shaped by infectious disease from thousands if years ago to early 2021.

The book takes readers from the dawn of humanity to present day to explain how humans as a species and the societies and civilizations we have created have been challenged over and over again by microbes.

The book offers key historic grounding for understanding the current pandemic.

Charles Kenny is a senior fellow with the Center for Global Development and in this conversation he explains how human history has been shaped by an unending cycle of plagues —  and what we need to do to mitigate the impact of future pandemics.

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