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What happens when viruses pass from humans to animals on Monday's Access Utah

A black image with geographic circles, triangles and other shapes. The words "COVID-19" are superimposed in white.
Martin Sanchez

Writer David Quammen is the author of several books, including the prescient Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Pandemic, published in 2012. The New York Times recently published an article titled “Animals That Infect Humans Are Scary. It’s Worse When We Infect Them Back.”

The Times reports that mink farms (some of them in Utah) threaten to become a source of new coronavirus variants — and an object lesson in how ‘spillback’ can make deadly diseases even deadlier. Today we’ll talk with David Quammen about spillover, spillback, Coronavirus and future viruses.

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.”

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.