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Sage coronavirus expert: We’ve had an epidemic that to some degree could have been avoided

Jeremy Farrar explains why humanity may simply have to learn to live with Covid-19, why he wishes there were *more* government advisers in scientific meetings—and why he thinks it is still too early to reopen schools

By Alan Rusbridger  

Farrar at Davos this year. Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr

It feels as if the whole of Jeremy Farrar’s life has been a preparation for this crisis. A leading epidemiologist, he has been thinking about diseases, viruses and pandemics for most of his career. He is director of the Wellcome Trust, which funds a huge amount of scientific research. And now he sits on the government’s Sage group of scientists offering advice (not always taken) on how to navigate the unprecedented crisis we currently face.

I sat down with Farrar—at either end of a Zoom…

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