FiveThirtyEight's COVID-19 podcast is laser-focused on evidence. What do we know about the novel coronavirus, and what do we know we don't know? COVID-19 has pushed Americans into more uncertain territory than most have ever known. Our podcast helps listeners understand what they can be certain about, and what is still unknown. We investigate coronavirus mysteries, debate when it's safe to reopen the economy and keep track of the latest scientific developments on vaccines and treatments. We do it all with FiveThirtyEight's trademark blend of transparency and rigor.
Pandemics Don't Really End
But podcasts about them do. We're sad to report this is the final episode of PODCAST-19! It's been so rewarding making a show for you over the past year. In this episode, we discuss why we're closing up shop and why pandemics are so hard to beat.
How The CDC's Blindspots Complicated The Fight Against COVID-19
The CDC wants to be certain, so it typically waits for a critical mass of scientific evidence before making declarative statements. That takes time. Yet the communication to the public in this pandemic seemed to be worse than normal, and resulted in a huge loss of public trust. Over the past month, we spoke to nearly a dozen scientists who all agreed the CDC could have done better. But the root causes of the CDC’s shortcomings will be hard to fix.
The Lab Leak Commotion
We have no hard evidence to support the idea that the novel coronavirus was leaked from a lab, let alone a smoking gun to validate that hypothesis. But despite pushback on this story from many scientists and the media early on, it’s back in the news, and many are talking about the possibility of a lab leak. There may be some legitimate reasons to do more digging, but the debate has gotten heated. And when a conversation is centered around controversy, instead of science, we can lose sight of the bigger, more important picture.
Who Should Decide Who Gets To Make COVID-19 Vaccines?
There's a worldwide shortage of vaccines but plenty of factories standing by to make them. Why is there such a gap between what we need and what we can make? On this week's episode, we explore the surprisingly wild world of pharmaceutical patent law to understand how our system came to be and how it has shaped the pandemic.
How To Make Sure Your Kid Isn't A Superspreader
Kids can't get a COVID-19 vaccination yet, but they're unlikely to develop serious complications from the disease. But they can still be vectors to spread COVID-19 to others who are likely to get very sick. On this week's episode, we look into how big of a risk unvaccinated kids pose to society, and what parents should keep in mind.
You Might Have Given The Coronavirus To Your Cat
We've learned time and again that animals can give diseases to humans. We've seen this happen with coronaviruses, the flu, Ebola -- basically most major disease outbreaks in recent memory. But, of course, the reverse is true too: Humans can give viruses, including the novel coronavirus, to animals. FiveThirtyEight’s senior science writer Maggie Koerth wrote about this on the site earlier this week, and she joined PODCAST-19, FiveThirtyEight’s coronavirus podcast, to discuss her work further.