Infectious Diseases: The Still Common Cold

When President Johnson fell ill, it was "an upper respiratory infection." Last week, as more Washington bigwigs fell prey to swarming viruses, Washington gossip dubbed the disease "executive flu" and blamed its spread on too many people being crammed into tight spaces—such as the White House dance floor. To most victims, the trouble remains an unglorified bad cold. By any name, and of whatever severity, it is still a mystery.

Sir Christopher Andrewes has spent most of his virologist's life studying the ailment, and in a new book just published in London, The Common Cold (Weidenfeld and Nicolson; 25 s.),...

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