Humanity’s Most Confounding Survival Epic
People encounter all kinds of threats in the natural world, but a virus presents an especially ominous challenge, as Outside contributing editor David Quammen can attest after decades of research on the topic. Quammen forecast a COVID-19–like pandemic in his 2012 book, Spillover, and beginning in the 1980s, he wrote a column for Outside called Natural Acts that had him pursuing fascinating scientific questions around the planet. He eventually took a special interest in zoonotic diseases, traveling to remote jungles and villages where contagions like HIV and Ebola had crossed over from animals to humans. Now he’s back with Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus, a gripping investigation of our battle against COVID. In this episode, Quammen describes why the disease will be with us for a long time and what we can do reduce the risk of future pandemics.
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