1 January, 2020. A bulletin from Health Protection Scotland is sent to all GP practices, describing a ‘novel Wuhan coronavirus’. ‘Current reports describe no evidence of significant human to human transmission, including no infections of healthcare workers,’ it says reassuringly. In this book, GP Gavin Francis will take you beyond the headlines to the reality of the pandemic response, from his surgery in Edinburgh to care homes and remote and fragile island communities. And inside this compelling narrative of missed opportunities, tragedies and occasional triumphs, he weaves the wider history of medical practice, pandemics and vaccines. This deeply personal account of medicine in a time of crisis is also an intelligent, compassionate study of what pandemics can do to us – and what we can do about them.