Experts say Covid-19 will evolve from a pandemic to an endemic disease — in other words, it will become a common disease, like the cold or flu, spreading and mutating at a slower rate but ultimately without an end. That’s the reporting from Nick Keppler in today’s lead story.
Here’s the thing, though: We still don’t know when the switch to a mere endemic will happen. That’s the next major shift for Covid-19’s status that is just over the horizon. Explore what it could mean in this edition of Inverse Daily.
I’m Nick Lucchesi, an editor at Inverse. Let’s dive in.
A technical note — We know our consecutive open counter is broken, and we’re trying to fix it. 🚧🚧🚧
[By Nick Keppler]
Remember when the pandemic was “over?” This halcyon moment of 2021 happened during what seemed a particularly sunny June. Having struggled through the anxiety of vaccine availability for months, suddenly, any adult could get a jab, and once fully vaccinated, we could even discard our masks and breathe easy. The Dave Matthews Band embarked on a summer tour, and Black Widow finally had a release date. The class of 2025 would spend freshman year inside the schoolhouse.
The idea that we might be “done” with Covid-19 did not last. By late July, the Delta variant had spread throughout the U.S., fueled by stagnant vaccination rates. New Covid-19 cases in the U.S. ballooned from about 12,000 a day at the start of July to 160,000 by the beginning of September, numbers not seen since before vaccination. Masks came back, and so did the anxiety — with a vengeance.
So, when will we be done with Covid-19?
[By Passant Rabie]
NASA’s Curiosity rover has been roaming a giant impact basin on Mars, searching for biosignatures for nine years. About 2,300 miles away, its successor Perseverance is collecting samples from Mars’ Jezero Crater and stowing them for a future return mission to Earth.
The same mission unites the two robots: discover signs of ancient life on Mars. But they are equipped with different parts that put together pieces of the puzzle of the history of the Red Planet.
According to a new study published last week in the journal Nature Astronomy, the Curiosity rover recently discovered a new set of organic molecules on Mars.
The two most significant molecules were benzoic acid and ammonia. Although these molecules are not biosignatures, they are a promising first step in identifying potential signatures of past life on Mars.
[By Jordan Golson]
It’s easy to think of the Lamborghini as the flashy supercar for people who are more concerned with showing off than going fast.
That statement is probably accurate if we’re honest. Head to any Cars & Coffee event — the gatherings of supercar owners and their supercars — and you'll see plenty of Lambos but far fewer Ferraris or McLarens, many of which are designed for the race track.
It's not that Lamborghini cars are slow. Far from it, the Lamborghini Huracan Performante set a (since-broken) production car lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 6:52:01. But none of the more than 17,500 Huracans sold have ever been so specifically designed for racing as the new Huracan STO that I was able to drive last month at the Willow Springs Raceway, some 80 miles north of LA.
Simply put, the clever-yet-efficacious aerodynamics and consolidated technology make the Huracan STO a car Iron Man would drive. If not him, at least his lesser-known but lighter and faster friend, Carbon Fiber Man. (OK, we know Tony Stark drives various Audi R8 models in the movies, but still.)
[By Jon Kelvey]
What’s on the astronomy community’s wishlist for the next decade? A big (6-meter), pricey ($11 billion) space telescope looks a lot like the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope but would see more visible light and launch in the 2040s. For starters, anyway.
The “infrared/optical/ultraviolet (IR/O/UV) space telescope” was the top, but just one of many recommendations published Thursday in a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Known as the Decadal Survey, a panel of astronomers surveys their field and scientific community every ten years and lays out strategic science and development goals for the next ten years. The astronomy community recommended the James Webb Space Telescope in the 2000 Decadal Survey and suggested the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope in 2010.
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- Notable birthdays: Caustic chef Gordon Ramsay is 55, ‘90s teen movie icon Tara Reid is 46, neo-soul singer SZA is 32, ABC World News Tonight host David Muir is 48, queen of the indie movie Parker Posey is 53, punk singer Laura Jane Grace is 41, and my youngest brother Jay Lucchesi is 32. (HBD, Jay!)
- Song of the Day: “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath.
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