Montana-based writer David Quammen says that Covid-19 is a reminder of viruses’ destructive power, but that life as we know it would be impossible without them. In his latest article for National Geographic titled “How Viruses Shape Our World,” he reviews the evolutionary origins of viruses and how they have helped shape the history of life.
In a recent OpEd for the New York Times he looks at the pandemic from the point of view of the Covd-19 virus. Quammen warned, in the New York Times on January 28, 2020, that the “novel coronavirus” could prove to be The Next Big One. And in May in The New Yorker, he focused on the warnings that should have alerted us, but didn't, to the coming of an event like this coronavirus pandemic.
David Quammen was a columnist for several years for Outsider and has written many articles for National Geographic. His books include The Song of the Dodo (1996), Monster of God (2003), The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (2006), and Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic (2012). Spillover was a finalist for seven awards and received two of them: the Science and Society Book Award, given by the National Association of Science Writers, and the Society of Biology (UK) Book Award in General Biology. David Quammen lives in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife, Betsy Gaines Quammen, a conservationist, who is currently doing a Ph.D. in environmental history at Montana State University, and their family of large white dogs, a cat, and a python named “Boots.”