Simon Akam: ‘Britain and the Pandemic’


Simon Akam (@simonakam) is a contributing writer for 1843 magazine, sister magazine to The Economist. Alongside his work for The Economist, he writes for publications including GQ, Outside and Bloomberg Businessweek. He is the author of The Changing of the Guard: the British Army since 9/11 and co-hosts a writing podcast Always Take Notes.

In his features for 1843 Magazine, Simon Akam has tackled complex stories about Britain’s handling of the pandemic, ranging from the NHS’s battle against the virus, to contact-tracers in Yorkshire. The inside story of Britain’s fight against covid-19 is the result of three months following doctors, nurses and paramedics in London as they fought the most devastating pandemic for a century. This is the untold story of what it felt like to be on the front-line: the chaos, the fear, even the exhilaration of health-care workers as they struggled to manage this most unpredictable disease. In ‘On the hunt with Yorkshire’s virus-detectives’, Simon travelled to northern England to embed with a team of local coronavirus contact-tracers. As the UK’s national system buckled under the resurgence of coronavirus, Simon investigated the system’s shortcomings, and explored whether local track-and-trace schemes offered a fix.