The Big Fail: What the Pandemic Revealed About Who America Protects and Who It Leaves Behind

From the publisher:

In 2020, the novel coronavirus pandemic made it painfully clear that the U.S. could not adequately protect its citizens. Millions of Americans suffered—and over a million died—in less than two years while government officials blundered; prizewinning economists overlooked devastating trade-offs; and elites escaped to isolated retreats, unaffected by and even profiting from the pandemic.

Why and how did America, in a catastrophically enormous failure, become the world leader in Covid deaths? In this page-turning economic, political and financial history, veteran journalists Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera offer fresh and provocative answers. With laser-sharp analysis and deep sourcing, they investigate both what really happened when governments ran out of PPE due to snarled supply chains and the shock to the financial system when the world’s biggest economy stumbled. They zero in on the effectiveness of wildly polarized approaches, with governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Ron DeSantis of Florida taking infamous turns in the spotlight. And they trace why thousands died in hollowed-out hospital systems and nursing homes run by private equity firms to “maximize shareholder value.”

In the tradition of the authors’ previous landmark exposés, The Big Fail is an expansive, insightful account on what the pandemic did to the economy and how American capitalism has jumped the rails—and is essential reading to understand where we’re going next.


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