You probably have had enough of this pandemic, want to take your jabs, hope everyone else takes theirs and together we can go out and live again.

Who could blame you?

The most comforting way to think of what has happened is to consider it to be a once in a century event that most countries were ill prepared for, that confounded expert opinion until the superheroes in the form of vaccine developers came to our rescue.

I suspect that’s how most people perceive and rationalise what’s happened and I can see why, and ultimately hope that worldview prevails.

But there’s another view and it’s the devastating conclusion to Michael Lewis’ new book The Premonition which casts Covid-19 not as a “black swan” event but one that should have been anticipated, planned for and is more likely than not to reoccur before very long.

Lewis doesn’t waste his time or gifts on Trump’s chaotically disastrous lack of leadership but focuses instead on institutional dysfunction and group think which shuns alternative views.

Yesterday, over seven hours, Dom Cummings attempted to do likewise. In an unprecedented piece of political failure, he recounted his time in Downing St during the pandemic, accepted and apologised for his own failures and castigated others, notably Matt Hancock, for theirs.

He conceded that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved had the state and government reacted differently.

The fundamentals of that failure aren’t complicated. The UK government didn’t react quickly enough to the seriousness of the pathogen. When it did react, a plan was concocted that had to be abandoned at the last minute and thereafter attempted to avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed without crashing the economy until the vaccines arrived with the use of periodic, time-limited lockdowns.

These errors were compounded by two profound misjudgements. Firstly, those in charge didn’t think we would tolerate restrictions for very long and, secondly, the airborne nature of transmission was so misunderstood that six months after the first cases emerged last year, this time last year, you could still walk into a shop or jump on a bus without a mask.

In The Premonition Lewis makes heroes of the maverick single voices of pandemic geeks who were ultimately defied by authorities in the US and yesterday Cummings made villains of Hancock and others accusing them of being serial liars.

The failure of almost all Western countries was one of political leadership, of the state and scientific expertise.

In their own ways Lewis and Cummings depict these failures brilliantly, but having read the first and listened to the second I came away with something of a fear and it’s this: that our leaders might overreact to our collective failures last year.

We still don’t know the origins of COVID (read Ian Birrell’s devastating piece here) and our not knowing only gives rise to more anxiety about the next pandemic, fears our political classes will be particularly sensitive to.

I came away worried that there will be any number of scares and events in the future when the temptation will be for authorities to clamp down on our social and economic freedoms and that they will be indulged by a fearful public.

In some ways, in defiance of the science, I feel that we will be better off thinking of this as a once in a century event, albeit one that from our failures of the last year we must learn from. But we must avoid the catastrophism that the wrong politicians with bad intent could seed and exploit.