World War Z Author Calls Out 'Onion of Layered Lies'

Max Brooks says government could've prevented much of the current panic
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2020 3:42 PM CDT
World War Z Author Calls Out 'Onion of Layered Lies'
Author Max Brooks attends the "World War Z" premiere on June 17, 2013, in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Of the coronavirus-themed celebrity PSAs released so far, Max Brooks' entry with his famous dad Mel—in which the two communicate with each other through a sliding-glass door—has become one of the most shared. The author of 2006's apocalyptic World War Z explains to SYFY Wire that the story behind the clip is "not a very dramatic" one. "It was just me thinking about how I could get the message across to people about social distancing," he says. "How do you drive home the point that it's not just the point about you getting infected, but who you can infect? I thought, 'I'll shoot a video with my dad to illustrate that point.'" The "frustrating" flip side of the popular PSA: "Not being able to hug him. That image of us being separated by glass was real. I never went in the house and I haven't hugged my dad since this started."

Brooks also sat down with Terry Gross of NPR to talk about how he thinks the US government has botched how it's handled the pandemic. "We have a network in place that we as taxpayers have been funding to get us ready for something just like this," says Brooks, who has toured the Centers for Disease Control and researched government response plans. But "we have been disastrously slow and disorganized from Day 1." He criticizes President Trump for not taking the outbreak seriously at first, and calls the idea that the government was blindsided by it "an onion of layered lies." But "what terrifies me, what keeps me up at night": the "secondary casualties" due to overflowing hospitals—meaning people with non-coronavirus-related conditions and injuries who won't be able to be seen by doctors because of "choked" hospitals. Read the full interview here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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