Apollo’s Arrow Summary By Nicholas A. Christakis

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Apollo’s Arrow (2020) is an essential read to understand the unprecedented global health crisis that we are facing.

Written by renowned epidemiologist Nicholas A.

Christakis, the book offers a comprehensive yet accessible overview of the origins and implications of COVID-19.

This timely and enlightening book draws on rigorous research of the virus and related diseases to examine the many societal, economic, technological, ethical, and medical challenges faced around the world.

With its laser-like focus on data-driven details yet incredibly easy to grasp concepts, Apollo’s Arrow provides valuable insight into this global pandemic and prepares us for a potentially radically different future.

Apollo’s Arrow

Book Name: Apollo’s Arrow (The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live)

Author(s): Nicholas A. Christakis

Rating: 3.7/5

Reading Time: 26 Minutes

Categories: Science

Author Bio

Apollo's Arrow is written by the renowned Nicholas A.

Christakis, a highly esteemed sociologist, medical doctor and Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University.

His works have been acclaimed best-sellers, such as Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society and Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks, so it's no surprise that Apollo's Arrow has become so popular.

His fans look to his writings to examine society's most complicated questions - both past and present - in a unique way that only he can bring forth.

It's this insightful look into our collective history that sets Apollo's Arrow apart from the rest.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change Our Lives and What We Can Do About It

Coronavirus Pandemic

Apollo’s Arrow offers readers a deep dive into the coronavirus pandemic.

Through meticulous research and scientific insight, this book takes an in-depth look at the various ways that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to reshape society.

With sections covering all kinds of disciplines from history and sociology to epidemiology and genetics, this book is sure to provide an eye-opening, prescient look at how our lives will be altered by the virus.

Readers of Apollo’s Arrow will find out why certain precautions had to be taken, why SARS-2 was able to spread so quickly, what role hand washing played in fighting off infection, and a lot more.

It illustrates how the current pandemic has changed our perception of everyday life and provides plenty of deep thinking on what the future may bring.

The Terrifying Spread of COVID-19: How a Small Mutation in a Little-Known Coronavirus Caused Global Chaos

In December of 2019, Dr.

Jixian Zhang, a doctor at the Hubei Provincial Hospital in Wuhan, China noticed a disturbing trend: a sudden surge of cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

By the end of that month, there were already 104 SARS patients and 15 deaths had been reported.

Despite initial reluctance from Chinese health authorities to raise the alarm, by January more and more people were being admitted to the hospital and it quickly became overwhelmed.

Beijing sent teams of expert epidemiologists to investigate the outbreak and local governments subsequently shut down schools, businesses, and other public spaces in an effort to control its spread.

On January 27th the Chinese Center for Disease Control identified the cause behind this chaos as a new strain of coronavirus which they dubbed SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-2 for short.

However, what began as just a few infections quickly spiraled out of control due to its ability to mutate into a form more easily transmitted between humans.

The Power of Pandemics: How High Infection Rates and Long Subclinical Infectiousness Have Enabled the SARS-2 Coronavirus to Evade Containment


SARS-2 is the perfect virus for creating a sustained pandemic.

This is due to its deadly combination of characteristics and low CFR (Case Fatality Rate), in addition to its high degree of infectiousness.

The virus has a CFR of about 2%, which means that people are more likely to survive after becoming infected, meaning they will act as carriers and spread the disease much further.

SARS-2 also has an R0 (reproductive rate) of two to three, indicating that an infected person can pass the virus onto two or three others.

Furthermore, SARS-2 has a long subclinical infectious period – taking upwards of a week before symptoms even begin to show – ensuring that carriers aren’t aware they’re carrying the virus until after it’s already been spread on many occasions.

These characteristics make SARS-2 perfect for creating and sustaining a pandemic.

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions: The Unsung Heroes of the Fight Against Disease

It is possible to slow and stop pandemics by changing our behavior.

This can be seen in the drop of death rates due to deadly diseases such as measles, scarlet fever, typhoid and tuberculosis.

Before these illnesses saw medical treatments like penicillin and chloramphenicol, basic improvements in sanitation like handwashing had already started to reduce yearly deaths.

This idea of slowing and stopping pandemics through behavioral change was put into practice during the onset of SARS-2 with the phrase “flatten the curve.” Governments closed schools, businesses and other public spaces to reduce virus transmission but at an economic cost.

They also encouraged mask wearing which can reduce droplet spread by up to 99 percent.

Lastly, contact tracing has been used to quarantine individuals an infected person had contact with – a very effective measure that requires many resources and time.

These are important steps we can take as a society to protect ourselves against future pandemics.

By changing our behavior, we can make a difference in slowing down or even stopping further spread of infections.

The Coronavirus Pandemic is Worsened by Fear, Lies and Misinformation

Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is made worse by fear and lies.

This is particularly true when it comes to misinformation about how the virus spreads and what treatments are available to combat it.

The truth is that much of this information has been twisted for political gain, leading people to believe unfounded theories and potentially dangerous advice.

Take, for instance, the conspiracy theory that SARS-2 was intentionally designed in a Chinese lab, which a recent poll showed 29 percent of Americans believed.

Or the Trump administration’s downplaying of the danger of the virus in February 2020, even as infections and deaths steadily increased over the following months.

These false beliefs and willful distortion of facts cause people to make bad decisions like disregarding social distancing guidelines or engaging in unsafe behavior like taking unproven remedies.

All of this leads to potentially avoidable suffering, just as when grieving Wanda DeSelle’s family had to say goodbye via video chat because the risk of infection was too high for them to visit her in person.

It’s more important now than ever before that people are aware of accurate information about the virus so they can protect themselves from harm and respond appropriately during the pandemic.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has Highlighted Social Inequality across the Globe

The novel coronavirus (SARS-2) pandemic has left an indelible mark on the world, and it’s clear that it has widened and deepened the social divisions between classes.

It’s no secret that certain communities have been hit harder by the virus than others, and each group has had to deal with a unique set of circumstances.

Famously, older people have fared much worse than young adults in terms of infection rates and mortality statistics.

This is due in part to pre-existing health issues as well as fewer antibodies they may have built up throughout their lives.

Plus, there are men dying at twice the rate of women due to unfortunate sociological factors such as access to health care and job opportunities.

Racial minorities also seem to be disproportionately affected by this virus.

Hispanic Americans and African Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to get infected with COVID-19 and twice likely to die from it.

Native American tribes are facing some of the most extreme outbreaks due primarily to their financial constraints and lack of healthcare protection.

In Difficult Times, Adversity Can Spark Innate Altruistic Impulses

Altruistic Impulses

In March 2020, when Yale University had to cancel all in-person classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of their undergraduates, Liam Elkind, decided to use this time to help those in need.

He and his friends set up Invisible Hands, a mutual-aid organization that delivers groceries and other supplies to elderly residents across Manhattan – and within four days of setting up the organization, they had already enlisted 1,200 volunteers!

It’s clear that adversity has inspired people to work together during these difficult times.

All over the country people have been joining forces to help their neighbors have access to food, shelter and necessary supplies.

According to one survey by May 2020 an astounding 37 percent of Americans had donated time, materials or money to aid organizations.

Social scientists say that during disasters it is not unusual for people to put their own needs aside in order to take care of those in need – this selfless dynamic was especially evident with hospital staff who often had limited resources but still continued working despite risks.

The search for a vaccine is fueled by similar acts of kindness as well: researchers are sharing information and individuals are lining up for potentially dangerous drug trials.

The threat of COVID-19 has inspired many people from all walks of life – from medical experts to everyday citizens – come together in pursuit of a solution.

COVID-19 Will Leave Lasting Impacts on Everyday Life Far Beyond the Current Global Health Crisis

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far reaching and many have yet to be realized.

The virus has already caused massive disruption to daily lives around the world.

From closures of schools, concert venues, and churches to an increase in liquor sales and rapid changes to interpersonal etiquette, like masks becoming ubiquitous and shaking hands being considered taboo.

What is clear is that the impact of the pandemic will be felt in many ways, both large and small.

Many essential workers are facing increased employer monitoring technology such as facial recognition systems or even eye-tracking.

Such surveillance can lead to a decrease in privacy for workers which may continue long after the virus is contained.

To make way for more public spaces cities are implementing car free days or closing streets completely while wealthier residents may flee cities creating an exodus of sorts.

The effects of this global event are wide-ranging and sure to continue shaping our lives for years to come.

We Can Achieve Herd Immunity or Mutate the Virus, but Ultimately Overcoming a Pandemic Requires a Social Effort


The future of the SARS-2 pandemic is uncertain.

Scientists and medical professionals are carefully studying the disease and its trajectory, but without a crystal ball it’s hard to make any definitive predictions.

We can predict what might happen based on current data: a vaccine or natural immunity could help us reach herd immunity, where enough people are immune to the virus for it to no longer easily spread; the virus itself might mutate over time to become less pressing; certain genetic variations may lead some people to be more resistant; and social measures have an essential role in truly ending the outbreak.

While these predictions give us a glimpse into the possible trajectories of SARS-2, one thing remains clear: there is still much yet to discover about this virus, so we must remain vigilant and continue to prepare for every eventuality.

With careful preparation, we can all hope that humanity will overcome this pandemic together.

Wrap Up

In Apollo’s Arrow, the world has been drastically altered by COVID-19 since it appeared in the fall of 2019.

Though lots of efforts have gone into containing the spread, it still affects many people’s lives today.

The best way to protect ourselves and others is to follow the public health guidelines, such as washing hands frequently, wearing masks in public, and avoiding large gatherings.

It may not be enjoyable but it can ultimately save lives.

A potential vaccine may even mean a brighter future beyond the pandemic.

It’s clear that things won’t stay the same after this–from our interpersonal behavior to our economic systems we are likely looking at long-term changes from this crisis.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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