Coronavirus update

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

Link here. In the past five days the number of people known to be infected has grown from about 450 to now more than 1,400, with deaths rising to 41 total. (The rate of deaths to those infected however has dropped, from 5% to less than 1%.) Also, a very small number of cases have been found in other countries throughout the world, limited so far to people who had recently been in the region of China with the most infections.

How serious is this epidemic? The rise in cases in only a week is concerning for sure, as very quickly the numbers are beginning to match the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, which took a year to get to 8,000 infected. The so-far low death rate however suggests the disease is manageable.

The situation in China however is very serious. They have locked down regions with populations in the multi-millions, and the number of cases might soon strain their health system. Worse, we do not know if the numbers the non-transparent communist government is posting are accurate. There have been numerous rumors all week that the infection count is far higher than what has been publicly revealed. This could be true, or not. The rumors exist because no one trusts the communists to allow the truth to be published.

At the moment it still appears to me that, at least outside of China, the situation is under control. Whether it remains that way we can only wait and see.



  • Lee S

    This is both interesting and deeply worrying at the same time…. Whole cities with millions of people have been effectively quarantined, something that has never happened before in human history…
    The odds are that this virus won’t be the one that gets us, but it’s only a matter of time. Hopefully the Chinese will be willing to share data regarding the effectiveness of these measures, so the whole world can learn from them…

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “The rate of deaths to those infected however has dropped, from 5% to less than 1%.

    This drop in rate could be an effect of the time it takes for a victim to succumb vs the recent trebling of those infected. Rather than measure the deaths vs. the current number infected, a measure that would be more relevant would be the rate of those who succumb after one week after contracting the disease, two weeks after, three weeks, etc. This disease is only one month old, in the human population. Drawing conclusions about the mortality rate and the infection rate may be premature, at this early part of the epidemic/pandemic.

  • sippin_bourbon


    Cities have enforced quarantines before. They simply had lower populations at the time.
    This is not new.

    Hope, however, is not a strategy. I do not trust the Chinese government to do what is best in the world’s interest.

    I trust them to do what is in Chinese best interest.

    If we assume that (and it is a pretty good assumption), we should plan accordingly.

  • Tom Biggar

    Good article in the Daliy Mail:

    A nurse treating patients in the area is saying that 90,000 are infected and medical supplies are short. Things are not getting better.

  • Edward: I absolutely agree with you that it is too soon to draw firm conclusions. We do not yet know if this will be disaster, or another overstated media frenzy. The numbers could go either way right now.

  • Lee S

    @ sippin_bourbon “cities with millions of people have been effectively quarantined”

    As I said, nothing like this has been seen before in human history…. Multi millions of people under lock down….
    And what is in China’s interest right now is also in the world’s interest… They need western consumers to not be mostly dead ;-)
    Just as a matter of interest, how has you guys flu season been? Pretty much everyone I know has been sick for 1-2 weeks this year, myself included. I take the flu shot every year, but this years mix seems to have totally missed this years variant. It’s a good job it’s not particularly fatal

  • wayne

    One thing of which I’m absolutely positive– these chi-coms will lie about any & every single thing.

  • wayne

    Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Global Cases (by JHU CSSE)
    As of Jan 25, 2020 10 pm EST

  • John

    Yes, the chicoms will lie, it’s all for the greater good of the party. Frankly the American media is now cut from the same jib.

    Here’s a summary of post on a forum from a person who claims his family is in a Wuhan apartment.

    Photos of the city show it to be empty, with mostly everyone staying inside. All forms of public transportation are shut down. Personal vehicles are not on allowed on the roads, you lose all 12 points on your license if a traffic camera catches you. He can’t ship supplies to the family, only medical donations to hospitals are allowed. Most of the family has not left home in 5 days. You can bicycle or walk to places, and the grocery store is stocked including fresh produce so supplies are getting in. Hotels near hospitals are allowing healthcare workers to stay for free, because getting around is now very difficult. The military is posted at the hospital, which is overflowing with patients who are becoming unruly. The family thinks everyone who gets a cold goes to the hospital in a panic. They do not trust the official numbers of sick, but do not have any actual info.

    Take it with a grain of salt. But nowadays, I trust an anonymous internet post over CNN and their ilk.

  • pzatchok

    Every morning I wake up in the hopes that a Zombie apocalypse has started and every morning I am disappointed my neighbors are not out chasing and eating each other.

    Then I know I will be going to work also.
    The boss agrees that if the Zombie are out I don’t have to come to work.

  • Max

    The stock market is taking a nosedive this morning, they believe the rumors. Availability of a face mask on Amazon are nonexistent, even hazmat suits have doubled in price.
    Nurse says they have supplies for 100,000 patients, they’re nearly out.
    The virus is adapting very quickly and the infection rate is extremely high, unfortunately the symptoms don’t appear for as long as 14 days. Millions of people evacuated the city’s before the lockdown, we’re witnessing the results of that now.
    50 to 60 million people are under quarantine, that’s more population than 35 of the largest US cities.
    The one thing all reports from China agree on, that the government is lying to us.

  • Cotour


    Your post would be a great bullet point Hollywood disaster movie pitch outline in the spirit of “The Towering Inferno”, “Earth Quake” and “The Posiden Adventure”.

    Lets be hopeful that it remains there.

  • wayne

    “There’s a Fire, Sir.”
    Andromeda Strain 1971

  • Lee S

    No one has answered my question regarding the flu over there this season?
    Here in Sweden we now have at least 20% of the workforce off with flu. ( Currently all the upper management… We are getting loads of work done!)
    It has swept thru the blue collar workers like a bush fire, I see nothing different to this virus than another type of flu….or am I missing something?

  • pzatchok

    What flu season?

    Passed us in the US by like it never happened.

  • Lee S: See this CNN story (which unfortunately makes it suspect).

    Other stories do suggest that the flu this past year was a much worse threat than coronavirus, by far. Last year’s season apparently killed 80,000, far more than the 100 or so killed by the new virus.

  • Cotour

    On John Batchelor right now, the Corona virus possibly leaked from a bio lab in China???????

    Oh boy.

  • wayne

    That is a good segment, but listen to it again.

  • wayne

    John Batchelor Show
    Dr. Henry Miller; Wuhan coronavirus

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