On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News
Two stories today suggest again that there is no reason to fear COVID-19, especially if you are healthy and young.
The first story suggests that social distancing, masks, and the incessant cleaning of surfaces are ridiculous over-reactions and likely unnecessary. Nor am I surprised. We have always had similar expectations from all other flu-like illnesses, and have never required these paranoid requirements in the past. It is time for them to stop.
The second story provides more evidence that the epidemic is dying, as predicted and like all similar flu-like epidemics.
The team has recruited 10,000 people to test the vaccine, some of whom will be given the vaccine and others a placebo. But as it is unethical to purposely infect people in the trial with COVID-19, participants will be asked to go about their normal routine in the expectation that some will be exposed to it naturally. However, that is unlikely to happen if the virus is not spreading, meaning that no conclusions can be drawn one way or the other about the vaccine’s efficacy.
Hill expects that fewer than 50 people in the test population will catch the virus, but if less than 20 test positive the results may be useless “It is a race, yes. But it’s not a race against the other guys,” he said. “It’s a race against the virus disappearing – and against time. We said earlier in the year that there was an 80% chance of developing an effective vaccine by September. But at the moment, there’s a 50% chance that we get no result at all.
Let me repeat this: They have 10,000 volunteers, and expect fewer than 50 of those to get infected with the Wuhan flu. In other words, this seasonal epidemic is going away, as such things do. It might return in the fall, but expect that return to be smaller, and hopefully if some government officials get their brains out of their behinds and focus on protecting the sick elderly, it will have little impact.
In any case, the evidence continues to point to the end of the epidemic, and in the process the discovery that the virus is relatively harmless to almost everyone. People have got to relax and stop being so afraid. It is not the bogey-man the press and the politicians have claimed it to be.
We are now in the third week of my annual July fund-raiser for Behind the Black. My deep thanks to everyone who has so far donated or subscribed. The response this year has been wonderful.
We are not done yet. This monthly fund-raiser is now half over, and I am hoping the second half will result in as many donations as the first half did. If it does, I will remain free to continue my writing as I see fit, unblemished by the efforts of others to squelch my perspective in this increasingly intolerant world.
This year's fund-raising drive is also significant in that it celebrates the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.
Therefore, I hope you will please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
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