Social Distance

By The Atlantic

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A podcast about living through a pandemic. Listen in as Dr. James Hamblin talks to friends and colleagues on the phone. He listens to their concerns and questions and shares practical advice when he can. This show contains the best information we have when published. Email us with questions, stories, or feedback at

Episode Date
Should I Wear A Mask?
Dr. James Hamblin answers basic questions about the coronavirus (and how to avoid it).
Apr 03, 2020
The New Etiquette of Procuring Food
What’s the least unethical way to eat during a pandemic? Olga Khazan advises.
Apr 03, 2020
Jared Kushner and the Website That Never Was
On March 13, President Trump announced that Google was building a coronavirus website. Staff Writer Robinson Meyer investigated what happened to that website — and what it tells us about the government's response overall.
Apr 02, 2020
How Coronavirus Is Scrambling Our Politics
Staff writer McKay Coppins explains why some people seem not to believe the science, and how simple advice like avoiding handshakes plays into old ideological divides. Plus, he tells us about his cans.
Mar 31, 2020
What Happens If We Run Out of Ventilators?
Bioethicist Arthur Caplan advises on the ethics of impossible medical decisions.
Mar 30, 2020
Will $2 Trillion Be Enough?
Staff writer Adam Harris joins to talk about the bill passed by Congress today and why, despite its unprecedented amount, it’s probably just the start of the economic plan to fight the pandemic.
Mar 27, 2020
How This Could End
Staff writer Ed Yong describes three possibilities of how this will play out — and reminds us not to panic. Recorded 11am, March 26, 2020.
Mar 26, 2020
What Happens Next?
The pandemic has put the whole world on different timelines. Contributing writer Rachel Donadio is based in France, which is slightly ahead of the U.S. She talks about how different countries are approaching the crisis.
Mar 25, 2020
Can I Have a Drink?
People are losing their jobs and hope. But opening businesses back up would endanger lives. Jim and Katherine call her brother, a bartender sheltering in place, for some perspective. And staff writer Derek Thompson joins to discuss what needs to happen in Washington to make sure people stay afloat. Recorded 3pm, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Sam's recipe for a mocktail Paloma: mix 3 parts grapefruit juice, 1 part lime juice, and 1 part simple syrup. Top with Topo Chico and add salt to taste.
Mar 25, 2020
Should I Be Getting Deliveries?
James Hamblin answers listeners' questions about deliveries, testing, haircuts, and how long this will last.
Mar 23, 2020
Why Everyone Is Watching "Contagion"
Finding ways to relax is as vital now as ever. Culture writers Sophie Gilbert and David Sims join to advise on some purposeful ways to escape in place. Recorded 12pm, Saturday, March 21, 2020.
Mar 22, 2020
On the Front Lines at a New York Hospital
The mask shortages in New York are worse than we imagined. Jim and Katherine talk to a doctor who describes the dire scene inside a major hospital. Recorded 1pm ET, March 21, 2020. If you want to help hospitals with supply shortages, a spreadsheet with more information is available here:
Mar 21, 2020
Why Can't I Get Tested?
Jim and Katherine talk with Alexis Madrigal about coronavirus testing and why the U.S. is so far behind much of the rest of the world. Recorded 2pm, March 20, 2020.
Mar 20, 2020
When It's Illegal to Leave Home
Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg and Staff Writer Anne Applebaum join to discuss updates from Europe and new restrictions on travel and movement.
Mar 20, 2020
A Slight Temporary Relief
Lori Gottlieb of “Dear Therapist” talks us through how to stay sane. She gives tips on managing anxiety and talking to family members about the crisis. Recorded 2pm ET, March 18, 2020.
Mar 18, 2020
This is as Real as It Gets
Dr. Stephen Thomas, Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at SUNY Upstate Medical University, just got his first COVID-19 cases. He discusses how hospitals should prepare for the coming surge of patients. And he shares a Mark Twain quote he's had on his mind: “courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” Recorded 3pm, March 17, 2020.
Mar 17, 2020
The Time for Cash
Annie Lowrey, a staff writer covering the economy, explains what needs to happen right away to keep people safe and secure. She’s in San Francisco about to “shelter in place.” Recorded 4pm, March 16, 2020.
Mar 17, 2020
Not a Two-Week Problem
James and Katherine take a walk to the grocery store and discuss what the next week --and year -- may look like in the U.S. Plus, how long does the virus last on surfaces? Recorded 2pm, March 15, 2020.
Mar 16, 2020
Call Someone
Dr. James Hamblin catches Katherine up on the latest developments, lays out the difficult decisions ahead, and reminds her to keep things in perspective. Plus, a few disinfecting tips. Recorded 11am, March 14, 2020.
Mar 14, 2020
Catching Up
Dr. James Hamblin helps a colleague make the essential pandemic-era shopping list. Recorded at 11:45am, Friday, March 13, 2020.
Mar 13, 2020