Author Archive

Sarah Zhang

Sarah Zhang is a staff writer at The Atlantic.
Health & Human Services

What If We Never Reach Herd Immunity?

Hitting the threshold might actually be impossible. But vaccines can still help end the pandemic.

Health & Human Services

The Next Six Months Will Be Vaccine Purgatory

The period after a vaccine is approved will be strange and confusing, as certain groups of people get vaccinated but others have to wait.

Health & Human Services

The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight

A year of scientific uncertainty is over. Two vaccines look like they will work, and more should follow.

Health & Human Services

The Lame-Duck Vaccine

The Trump administration spurred development of a vaccine; the Biden administration has to persuade Americans to take it.

Health & Human Services

The Vaccine News That Really Matters

COMMENTARY | Soon Covid-19 vaccine makers will release early data from large clinical trials, and the results could be ambiguous.


Cities Have Changed—For Rats

Sheltering in place produced a “natural experiment” for urban wildlife.

Health & Human Services

Deep Clean, Then Clean Again

What exactly does it mean when schools and businesses close to “deep clean” because of the coronavirus?

Public Safety

A DNA Company Wants You to Help Catch Criminals

Family Tree DNA was criticized for secretly working with the FBI. Now it’s explicitly asking potential customers to help law enforcement.


Cats Are No Match for New York City’s Rats

Despite popular wisdom, rats are too big and too fierce for cats.

Tech & Data

The Genomic Revolution Reaches the City Crime Lab

How will law enforcement handle the deluge of new information available from DNA?


What 35 Inches of Rain Can Dredge Up

Hurricane Harvey’s unusual path could hit Houston with rain and storm surges at the same time—surfacing gators, snakes, sewage, and coffins.

Health & Human Services

What to Make of the Tunnel Collapse at the Hanford Nuclear Cleanup Site

The incident is only part of the slow-motion deterioration of one of the country's most contaminated places.


Nevada Fights the Latest Attempt to Give It the Nation’s Nuclear Waste

A Congressional hearing on a bill to revive the Yucca Mountain facility pits Nevadans against everyone else.


The Government's Weed Is Terrible

… and that’s a big problem for medical marijuana research.

Health & Human Services

Flesh-Eating Worms Reach Florida's Mainland

A massive eradication effort wiped out screwworms in the U.S. 35 years ago—but then they reappeared.