Social Distance

By The Atlantic

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James Hamblin is a doctor. Katherine Wells is not. But she has a lot of questions. Listen in as Jim and Katherine keep in touch with other journalists, experts, and friends about the latest science and health news⁠—and, more important, what to do with it.Email us with questions, stories, or feedback at socialdistance@theatlantic.com.

Episode Date
Is One Vaccine ‘Better’ Than Another?
2424
With three vaccines now approved and news that every adult can get a shot by the end of May, it feels like the U.S. is turning a corner. But, even after getting vaccinated, Americans still have to mask and distance. Why is that? Can you still spread it? And with lots of efficacy numbers out there, is one vaccine ‘better’ than another? James Hamblin and Maeve Higgins ask virologist Angela Rasmussen. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at theatlantic.com/supportus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 03, 2021
Infections, Vaccinations, and Other Questions
1983
Listeners with mild COVID-19 cases call with their questions. Jim explains why he thinks the summer could be wonderful. And Maeve shares nun news from Ireland. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at theatlantic.com/supportus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 25, 2021
‘A Disaster for Feminism’
2344
Nearly a year ago, The Atlantic staff writer Helen Lewis predicted the pandemic would be “a disaster for feminism” and far too many of her predictions have proven true. With women leaving the workforce at unprecedented rates, why has the pandemic’s burden fallen so much harder on them? And what can we, as a society, do about it? Also: Jim and Maeve answer listener questions about the virus (and discuss chickens). Please fill out our listener survey! theatlantic.com/socialdistancesurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 18, 2021
A Forever Pandemic
2369
Vaccines are a public good. And if we don’t make a lot more of them, COVID-19 may never really go away.  Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiology professor at Yale’s School of Public Health who joined the show in May to talk about his career as an AIDS activist, explains to Jim and Maeve how our moral failure to help vaccinate the rest of the world may come back to haunt us — and what big steps we’d need to take to prevent that. Please fill out our listener survey at theatlantic.com/socialdistancesurvey. It helps us understand who we’re making this show for and how we can keep improving it. (And it helps us to make new shows that suit what you like!) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 12, 2021
Can You Get Reinfected?
2919
The Brazil variant raises a scary question — and reminds us that herd immunity needs to cross borders. Also: Katherine shares the first episode of The Experiment, a new show from The Atlantic and WNYC Studios.  Subscribe to The Experiment here: Apple Podcasts / Google Podcasts / Spotify / Stitcher / Pocket Casts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 04, 2021
Have We Turned the Corner?
2235
People are getting vaccinated, but it’s not happening quickly enough. Case counts are dropping fast, but a near-record number of people are still sick. Do we have reason for optimism? Or could optimism still get us in trouble? Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer, staff writers and co-founders of the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, join Jim and Maeve this week. Where is Katherine? She’s still working on The Experiment, which launches next week! Hosted by WNYC’s Julia Longoria, the new podcast will examine the myths and ideas at the heart of the American experiment and the way powerful forces of history collide with our everyday lives. The trailer’s beautiful. Check it out here. And the first episode drops February 4th. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 28, 2021
Who Gets The Next Shot?
2198
Dr. Ruth Faden, an expert in biomedical ethics with Johns Hopkins University, has helped vaccine drives answer some tough questions: Who should be ahead of who? Do we prioritize speed or equity? And once people are inoculated, should they get ‘vaccine passports’ allowing freer movement? She joins James Hamblin and guest host Maeve Higgins to assess how we’ve done — and what we could expect next. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at theatlantic.com/supportus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 21, 2021
Mutations
2305
Last month, we learned about the “UK variant.” Now, more mutations from South Africa and Brazil have made headlines. How bad are they? And should you change anything you’re doing already? Dr. Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the Galveston National Laboratory who studies coronaviruses, joins to explain. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at theatlantic.com/supportus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 13, 2021
How Badly Is Vaccination Going?
2320
We were supposed to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of the year. We’ve fallen well short of that. Should we be worried? Jim and Katherine are joined by Juliette Kayyem, a former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security who ran intergovernmental efforts like the one behind the vaccine rollout. She explains what’s going on, what the problems have been, and why we shouldn’t be too concerned (yet). They’re also joined by a listener named Craig seeking advice on a tough situation: when can you travel to see an ill family member? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jan 07, 2021
The Vaccine is Here! What Now?
2225
We're very relieved, but now entering the strange time of vaccine purgatory. Staff writer Sarah Zhang joins Jim and Katherine to answer your questions. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 16, 2020
Americans Are Going Hungry
2006
The pandemic has brought unprecedented economic suffering and yet, Congress hasn’t passed new relief since March. As politicians attempt to negotiate a package before the holidays, Americans are going hungry. How could we have let it go on so long? What about our politics let it get so bad? Jim and Katherine talk with Atlantic staff writer David A. Graham and Luis Guardia, president of the Food Research and Action Center. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 10, 2020
Misinformation Mailbag
2064
Listeners have written in with questions on all kinds of pandemic misinformation about masks, supplements, vaccines, and more. So this week, Jim and Katherine talk about conspiracy theories, false remedies, and how to talk to the people that believe in them. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Dec 03, 2020
How to Cancel Thanksgiving (Because You Should)
2233
The coronavirus, in addition to being dangerous and terrifying, also makes everything socially awkward. But now is a time to make hard decisions and have hard conversations. Jim and Katherine answer listener questions about the holidays, and explain how to say no. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 19, 2020
A 90% Effective Vaccine
2056
Jim and Katherine get sent to the principal (the lead principal investigator of the Pfizer vaccine trial). Dr. Stephen Thomas, now a key figure evaluating the Pfizer vaccine, returns to explain promising preliminary data that shows it to be 90% effective. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 11, 2020
‘A Long Misunderstood Region’
1581
America hit 100,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time today. Unlike the wave in the spring, this one is spread across the country and especially hitting rural communities. Carlos Sanchez, the head of public affairs for Hidalgo County in south Texas, talks about the fight that he and his home have had against COVID. Read his story in The Atlantic here. And read Adam Serwer on a Blue Texas here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 05, 2020
After the Vote
1772
Could the election shape the course of the pandemic? Or is the ship too hard to turn by now? Staff writer Ed Yong joins the show to explain what a new administration can actually change—and what he worries may be built into our response now. Read Ed Yong’s writing about the election, how the pandemic defeated America, and why our “pandemic spiral” have led to the same repeated errors. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 28, 2020
People Need Help
2184
Americans now face a third wave of the coronavirus. New lockdowns may soon follow—this time, without economic support.  Many provisions of the CARES Act ran out in July and Congress missed its deadline this week to pass new support before the election. We talk to Prof. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an expert on the social safety net, about how dire the economic situation already is for many families. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 22, 2020
Is COVID-19 a Pre-Existing Condition?
2454
With worries about the Affordable Care Act looming over Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, an expert gives us a refresher on the landmark health law—and answers questions about what it would mean to lose the law during the pandemic.  Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 14, 2020
So Trump Has COVID
1886
Well it happened. But the president’s doctor isn’t providing a complete picture of Trump’s condition. What do we know about an outbreak coverup in the West Wing? Read Jim’s recent stories here. And subscribe to The Atlantic: theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 07, 2020
What Does COVID Do to the Heart?
2641
At this week’s presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed he “brought back Big Ten football.” The college conference voted to send student athletes back on the field this fall—a decision that came only days after researchers at Ohio State (the current Big Ten champion) published a study of athletes who had contracted mild COVID cases, but showed signs of myocarditis, a potentially serious and long-lasting heart condition. Jim and Katherine ask cardiologist Dr. Amy Kontorovich what we know about COVID’s impact on the heart. And Jim calls staff writer Adam Harris to ask why schools are putting student athletes at risk—and whether the controversial decision could change college athletics. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 01, 2020
How Bad Will Winter Get?
2037
Katherine’s been dreading the cold months and the problems they might bring. She asks Jim what to expect and how to prepare. And Alexis Madrigal joins for a live Atlantic Festival taping to share the different winter scenarios with testing and a vaccine. Read Jim’s piece about winter here. And support this show by becoming an Atlantic subscriber at theatlantic.com/supportus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 23, 2020
Fires Outside, Virus Inside
2187
Katherine’s in California, where things could be better. She’s been wearing two masks—one for the coronavirus, and one for the wildfire smoke—but she isn’t sure how to interpret the air quality warnings. Jim wants to know how air pollution like the smoke interacts with COVID-19. So they called Dr. John Balmes, an expert who’s studied inhaled pollutants for decades and serves as the Physician Member for the California Air Resources Board. Join us live next week at the Atlantic Festival at 12pm ET. We’ll be joined by Alexis Madrigal and will take questions. Register for free at: theatlanticfestival.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 16, 2020
Is Faster Better?
2333
The path out the pandemic is a vaccine. Short of that, it could be rapid testing. And the sooner, the better ... right? Sarah Zhang and Alexis Madrigal explain how close we are to each solution — and how much of a solution each may be if rushed. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 09, 2020
Herd Immunity is Not a Strategy
2615
With news that a White House pandemic adviser reportedly pushed a “herd immunity strategy,” Katherine and Jim ask an expert about what that would mean. Dr. Howard Forman, a Yale professor and emergency radiologist, explains why Sweden isn’t the example people think it is—and why many people are talking about “herd immunity” all wrong. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 02, 2020
Plasma and Immunity
2966
Writer F.T. Kola had COVID-19 in March, and she’s still dealing with the aftermath. She calls to ask about whether she should donate plasma, and if she should worry about “reinfection.” Then, senior editor John Hendrickson talks about disability at the DNC. Read his definitive story on Joe Biden and stuttering here. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 26, 2020
The Comedy and Tragedy of Virtual Live Events
2342
When live events went online, they lost something indescribable. But did some gain something new? Maeve Higgins explains why comedy needs a crowd. James Fallows argues that politics might be better on Zoom. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 19, 2020
Millennials Are Buying COVID Cars
2539
Katherine takes a road trip. Jim talks to staff writer Robinson Meyer about COVID cars—and how a new wave of car ownership could change cities for better, or worse. Also: N95s! Surgical masks! Gaiters! What face coverings actually work? (And when should you wear them?) Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 12, 2020
This Episode Has Not Been Peer-Reviewed
2275
Jim explains the terms Katherine hears in news about scientific studies — and why the pandemic may be changing science. And Ed Yong joins to discuss how American healthcare needs to change to beat the coronavirus. (Read his cover story here.) Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Aug 05, 2020
Birding Outside the Home
1615
Katherine tries to convince Jim to take on a new hobby with help from self-described “bird nerd,” Jason Ward. Follow Jason Ward on Twitter & Instagram. Support this show and all of The Atlantic’s journalism by becoming a subscriber at www.theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 31, 2020
The Tree Army
1021
Jim wants to see a modern version of the Civilian Conservation Corps. As it happens, there’s a bill in Congress to dramatically expand national service called the CORPS Act. Senator Chris Coons has led the effort to pass it. He joins the show to talk about solving two problems with one bill. Support the show by subscribing to The Atlantic: theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 29, 2020
'The Most Magical Place on Earth'
1353
Staff writer Graeme Wood makes his first visit to Walt Disney World in the midst of a pandemic. You can read Graeme's piece here and support all of The Atlantic's journalism by subscribing at http://theatlantic.com/supportus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 27, 2020
How Immunity Works
1748
Katherine gets the results of her coronavirus and antibody tests. She has questions about what they mean, so immunologist Dr. Lisa Butterfield joins to explain the immune system (with help from Jim’s metaphors). Support the show by subscribing to The Atlantic: theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 24, 2020
$600 a Week
1372
In a few days, 30 million Americans will lose the $600 in unemployment insurance they’ve depended on every week. What happens next? Annie Lowrey, staff writer and author of Give People Money, joins to explain. Support the show by subscribing to The Atlantic: theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 22, 2020
A New Definition of “Clean”
1482
Jim talks about his new book Clean: The New Science of Skin with his dream interviewer. Sort of.  You can buy his book here: rb.gy/anajcp Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 20, 2020
CDC Data Goes Dark
1739
This week, the Trump administration mandated that hospitals no longer send their data to the CDC, and the public appears to have lost access to key data. Alexis Madrigal, staff writer and co-founder of The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project, joins to explain what happened and why it matters as states seek to reopen. Support the show by subscribing to The Atlantic: theatlantic.com/supportus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 16, 2020
Is it Safe To Fly?
1080
Jim answers a listener question about plane flights. Katherine peppers him with hypotheticals. Jim unfurls a bad metaphor, again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 15, 2020
Our Deadliest Pandemic Mistake
1645
Over 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in America have been linked to nursing homes. How did it happen, and how bad could it get? Staff writer Olga Khazan joins to explain. Read her piece on nursing homes here, and Jim's piece on herd immunity here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 13, 2020
What Will It Take To Get To Herd Immunity?
1235
How does this end? Absent a treatment or vaccine, coronavirus won’t stop spreading until we reach herd immunity. But what is it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 10, 2020
The Sun Belt Spike
1708
What does the surge in cases in the south and west mean for the country’s chances of containing the pandemic? Staff writer Alexis Madrigal explains. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 08, 2020
The Stock Market is... Up?
1558
Why Wall Street's doing great while everything else is not Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 06, 2020
Why the World Can’t Reopen If Schools Can’t
1391
Many plans for school reopenings involve a mix of online and in-person instruction. That could have huge downstream effects on a workforce that can’t rely on children being in or out of school. Staff writer Helen Lewis shares a solution that’s too logical to actually happen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 03, 2020
How the Coronavirus Affects Kids
1673
The latest on a mysterious syndrome hitting kids — and what it means for schools. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jul 01, 2020
How Is College Going To Work?
1602
Colleges and universities pack students into dorms, classrooms, and parties. Now they have to figure out how to do that in a pandemic. Staff writer Adam Harris joins to discuss what they’re planning for the fall. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 29, 2020
The Ethical Calculus of Reopening
1608
Cases are on the rise in twenty-five states. A vaccine is, for now, a distant dream. How do we negotiate the ethical trade-offs of the deaths to come in the meantime? Dr. Lydia Dugdale, medical ethicist and author of The Lost Art of Dying, joins to discuss. Note: this episode was recorded on June 23rd, 2020. All numbers mentioned were accurate for that date. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 26, 2020
The Air Conditioning Question
1165
Jim explains how ventilation affects the spread of the virus with yet another unwieldy metaphor. Plus, a puppy update. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 24, 2020
People Are Panic Moving
1625
In the last few months, many people who have the option have chosen to leave big cities. Will their departures be permanent? Staff writer Amanda Mull has been talking to demographers to find out. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 22, 2020
Serenity Now
1749
As the virus continues to spread, how do we reckon with the reality of ongoing death and disruption? Public theologian Ekemini Uwan explains the idea of “radical acceptance.” Read Ekemini’s piece in The Atlantic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 17, 2020
Should I Be Taking Something?
1727
Supplements and vitamins claim to “boost your immune system.” Jim explains why this is nonsense. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 15, 2020
An Extremely Bizarre Plan to Play Basketball
1808
Rising case numbers, an empty theme park, and 22 teams in quarantine. What could go wrong? Joel Anderson, Slate staff writer and co-host of Hang Up and Listen, joins to explain what's going on with the NBA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 12, 2020
Can We Sing?
1475
Jim answers listener questions: Is it safe to sing? Should we be worried about asymptomatic spread? Plus, a "kerfluffle" for Katherine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 10, 2020
Why the Virus Is Spreading So Unevenly
1595
The pandemic isn’t going away, and its spread is hard to predict. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 09, 2020
Would Defunding Police Make Us Safer?
1936
City and state budgets are in serious trouble after the pandemic-induced economic slowdown. Some protesters have a proposal: defund the police. Sociologist Alex Vitale, author of “The End of Policing,” explains the research and nuance behind the idea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 05, 2020
How Limiting Protests Will Spread the Virus
1152
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis has sparked large protests and marches, giving rise to a new set of concerns about how to safely and effectively exist. Jim and Katherine share the latest on how to protest as safely as possible. Ultimately, safety has less to do with the protesters than those overseeing them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 03, 2020
Fighting the Machine
2088
The health effects of racism are usually less obvious than murder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 02, 2020
Sometimes, Things Can Change
1669
The federal government has passed big reforms in response to economic crises before. Could it now? Harvard historian Lizabeth Cohen shares lessons—and warnings—from the New Deal. Read her piece for The Atlantic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 29, 2020
Is America Going to Make It?
1731
If you watch the news, the country sounds deeply divided about the coronavirus. But polls show an uncommon unity among Americans. Staff writer James Fallows joins to share some historical perspective and answer the question he’s found himself grappling with across his decades-long career: Is America going to make it? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 28, 2020
Is Anyone Else Not Showering?
1279
Jim spent years writing a book on hygiene beliefs and the new science of the skin microbiome. In it, he suggests that some people overuse cleansers and soaps, and may benefit from doing less. But now, there’s a pandemic, and he also really wants to remind people to wash their hands. Jim tries to explain the nuances of good cleaning and bad cleaning—and why he does not shower in the traditional sense. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 26, 2020
It’s a Small World Health Organization
1517
The president wants to pull the United States out of the WHO. Public health professor Kelley Lee explains what it does and why defunding the world’s main public health body during a pandemic is not a great idea. Plus, Jim shows off his math skills. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 22, 2020
Is There a Vaccine Shortcut?
1709
There’s promising news around a vaccine, but what does it mean? And should we speed up its development with ‘challenge trials’ by letting vaccinated people be exposed to the virus? Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Thomas returns to the show to discuss the medical and ethical issues. Also, Katherine faces a minor challenge of her own. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 20, 2020
Am I Depressed?
1443
Many of our isolated lives fit the normal criteria for depression, but of course these aren't normal times. So, when the world is this depressing, how do you tell when you're actually depressed? Clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Rapke explains how to think through mental health questions in the time of COVID-19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 18, 2020
The Comforting Appeal of Conspiracy Theories
1638
A video making outlandish and obviously false claims about the coronavirus is making the rounds on the internet. Adrienne LaFrance joins to talk about the psychology of abandoning the factual realm. Check out "Shadowland" from The Atlantic here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 15, 2020
Have the Uncomfortable Conversation
1550
It’s hard to talk about end-of-life care. You should do it anyway. Edo Banach, the President & CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, explains how to create an advance directive — and the best ways to approach the conversation with loved ones. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 13, 2020
The Racial Contract
1485
The pandemic has made the terms of the “racial contract” visible — but it is a structure that existed long before. Adam Serwer joins to discuss the connection between coronavirus policy and the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Read his recent piece in The Atlantic. Note: this week, the show will be publishing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 11, 2020
Have You Seen 'The Wretched'?
1603
With most movie theaters closed across the country and no certain timeline for the next big releases, staff writer David Sims gives us recommendations on what to watch. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 08, 2020
Will You Merge Bubbles With Me?
1669
New rituals and ethical conundrums of dating and socializing are beginning to reveal themselves. Staff writer Joe Pinsker joins to discuss. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 07, 2020
Don’t Worry About a ‘New Strain’
1305
Recent news stories raised concerns about multiple ‘strains’ of the coronavirus. Ed Yong joins to explain what’s going on, and why we probably shouldn’t worry right now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 06, 2020
High Risk
1150
Caitlin Flanagan on navigating Stage IV cancer during a pandemic. Read her story in The Atlantic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 05, 2020
So The Economy is a Disaster
1121
The economic news is catastrophic. And it’s probably going to get worse. Annie Lowrey joins to talk about why the U.S. didn’t fare as well as other countries, and what it needs to do next. Also, Jim talks about walk poetry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 05, 2020
‘Things Can Change In an Instant’
1560
In many ways, this crisis is unprecedented. But in others, it is not. Gregg Gonsalves became an AIDS activist in the 80s, and is now an epidemiologist working on public health and human rights. He says the history of HIV can offer us warnings -- and some hope. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 01, 2020
The Georgia Experiment
1401
Staff writer and Georgia native Amanda Mull joins to talk about the political forces pushing to reopen her home state. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 30, 2020
You Are Worthy of Sleep
1830
Katherine is worried Jim is endangering himself and needs to sleep more, so she’s holding an intervention. Tricia Hersey of the Nap Ministry joins to talk about the importance of sleep and how, especially right now, everyone would benefit from prioritizing rest. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 30, 2020
Is Human Touch Necessary?
1130
Jim and Katherine answer questions from listeners. If you have a question, email us at socialdistance@theatlantic.com or leave us a voicemail at 202-642-6487. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 28, 2020
Will the Restaurants Come Back?
1548
What the future of your neighborhood storefront tells us about the outlook for the American city. Derek Thompson joins to explain. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 27, 2020
How Much Does It Cost to Get COVID-19?
1730
What is the financial toll on those who get sick? And will the pandemic change our healthcare system? Dr. Howard Forman, a Yale professor of public health and economics, joins Jim and Katherine to explain the costs of American medicine and what it would take to bring those costs down. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 24, 2020
Are the Celebrities Okay?
1268
Staff writers Hannah Giorgis and Spencer Kornhaber join to talk about what the celebrities are up to and whether our fascination with them will survive this. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 23, 2020
Why Do Some People Get Sicker?
1383
Jim explains why COVID-19 can be fatal for some and mild for others. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 22, 2020
‘You Think of Things You Shouldn’t’
1731
Jim met Bootsie Plunkett in March while filming a comedy segment for Stephen Colbert. A few weeks later she was in the hospital. She joins to talk about experiencing the terror of an ICU during a pandemic and how much a person's perspective can change in a month. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 21, 2020
Immunity Passports
1336
Staff writer Sarah Zhang joins Jim and Katherine to talk about the limits of antibody testing, whether we’ll be carrying around cards with our immunity status, and the lessons she’s learned from reporting on Yellow Fever. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 20, 2020
Text Your Ex?
1233
Amid a surge of romantic expression, staff writer Ashley Fetters advises Katherine and Jim on the psychology of reconnection, contrition, and making things right in the end. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 17, 2020
What Will the Summer Be Like?
1530
Staff writer Ed Yong braces Jim and Katherine for a very different summer than most of us are used to. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 16, 2020
Are These Tweets Real?
1402
James has been getting a lot of strange replies on social media. McKay Coppins joins to talk about modern propaganda, the history of disinformation, and where these comments might be coming from. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 15, 2020
Something Less Bad
1463
Jim and Katherine call Maeve Higgins, a comedian and writer who left New York a month ago for her home country of Ireland. She talks about the precarious situation of immigrants, what it’s like to live at home again as an adult, and her disastrous flirtation with self-improvement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 14, 2020
Where the Curve Has Flattened
1366
What's been the difference in the parts of the country that haven't seen as bad an outbreak? Staff writer Russell Berman talks about how officials on the West Coast responded to the problem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 13, 2020
What It’s Like to Have COVID-19
2166
Friends and writers F.T. Kola and Karan Mahajan have both recently recovered from COVID-19. They join to talk about immunity, survivor’s guilt, and how outcomes depend on a strange calculus of privilege and chance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 11, 2020
What the World Looks Like After This
1767
People are anxiously awaiting the day things can go back to “normal.” But normal is what got us here in the first place. Will the future look better than the past? Vann R. Newkirk II joins to discuss the lessons from Hurricane Katrina and what they say about disaster responses. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 09, 2020
Trump’s Miracle Cure
1247
Conspiracy theories and desperation have brought a century-old malaria medication to the front of national attention. Katherine Wells and James Hamblin break down how this happened. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 09, 2020
The Emergency in Our Jails
1785
Everyone is being ordered to social distance. Except those who are being ordered into places where that’s impossible. Jim and Katherine talk with Conor Friedersdorf and former public defender Maya Ragsdale about what can be done. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 08, 2020
You're Doing Great
1558
The coming weeks will be tough for many Americans. Lori Gottlieb of “Dear Therapist” advises on how to deal with grief, and how to care for yourself. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 06, 2020
Should I Wear A Mask?
1355
Dr. James Hamblin answers basic questions about the coronavirus (and how to avoid it). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 03, 2020
The New Etiquette of Procuring Food
1357
What’s the least unethical way to eat during a pandemic? Olga Khazan advises. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 03, 2020
Jared Kushner and the Website That Never Was
1195
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 02, 2020
How Coronavirus Is Scrambling Our Politics
1943
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 31, 2020
What Happens If We Run Out of Ventilators?
1651
Bioethicist Arthur Caplan advises on the ethics of impossible medical decisions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 30, 2020
Will $2 Trillion Be Enough?
1049
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.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 27, 2020
How This Could End
1586
Staff writer Ed Yong describes three possibilities of how this will play out — and reminds us not to panic. Recorded 11am, March 26, 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 26, 2020
What Happens Next?
1156
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 25, 2020
Can I Have a Drink?
1600
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 25, 2020
Should I Be Getting Deliveries?
1299
James Hamblin answers listeners' questions about deliveries, testing, haircuts, and how long this will last. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 23, 2020
Why Everyone Is Watching "Contagion"
1107
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 22, 2020
On the Front Lines at a New York Hospital
1386
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: https://bit.ly/3dn2eVa Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 21, 2020
Why Can't I Get Tested?
2067
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 20, 2020
When It's Illegal to Leave Home
1540
Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg and Staff Writer Anne Applebaum join to discuss updates from Europe and new restrictions on travel and movement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 20, 2020
A Slight Temporary Relief
1523
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 18, 2020
This is as Real as It Gets
1807
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 17, 2020
The Time for Cash
1449
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 17, 2020
Not a Two-Week Problem
1682
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 16, 2020
Call Someone
1975
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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 14, 2020
Catching Up
1174
Dr. James Hamblin helps a colleague make the essential pandemic-era shopping list. Recorded at 11:45am, Friday, March 13, 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 13, 2020