114 episodes

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.

Social Distance The Atlantic

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.5 • 884 Ratings

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.

    The Johnson & Johnson Pause

    The Johnson & Johnson Pause

    Should the ‘pause’ in Johnson & Johnson vaccine worry us? Also, Jim got his first shot! But with so many people experiencing strong reactions to their second doses, what should he — and maybe you — expect? 
    Atlantic staff writer Katherine Wu joins to explain (and stays to talk cicadas!)
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    • 37 min
    We Need to Vaccinate Kids

    We Need to Vaccinate Kids

    Children may have been largely spared the worst of COVID-19, but many kids have still gotten seriously ill and died. Despite promising news this week, most likely won’t have access to the vaccines for months. So as adults get vaccinated, how high are the stakes for kids? And how high are the stakes for everyone waiting on herd immunity?
    Jim and Maeve ask Dr. Jill Foster, a professor and pediatric-infectious-disease specialist at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Also, with a pediatrician on the show, they take the opportunity to ask a few listener questions from parents.
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    • 35 min
    No Shirt. No Shoes. No Shots. No Service.

    No Shirt. No Shoes. No Shots. No Service.

    Vaccine passports are almost certainly in our near future. But what are they exactly? And with concerns about vaccine equity now complicated by partisan fearmongering, how should they be implemented?
    Art Caplan, a bioethicist with NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine who’s spent years thinking about vaccine ethics, joins Jim and Maeve to explain.
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    • 40 min
    A History of Pandemic Xenophobia & Racism

    A History of Pandemic Xenophobia & Racism

    The recent shootings in Atlanta highlighted a surge of anti-Asian violence in the United States throughout the pandemic. Disease stigma and racism have together shaped pandemic response and policy for centuries.
    And so to better understand this history, Jim and Maeve speak with Alexandre White, a sociologist and medical historian at Johns Hopkins University. He shares his views on how a legacy of prejudice tied to disease should lead us to reexamine how we respond when outbreaks occur.
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    • 41 min
    Have Case Numbers Plateaued?

    Have Case Numbers Plateaued?

    Jim and Maeve answer listener vaccine questions and are joined by Alexis Madrigal, who explains the apparent plateau in cases (and why he’s begun to worry despite his longer-term optimism). With the COVID Tracking Project winding down, Madrigal also offers insight about where to get the best data.
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    • 39 min
    It’s Been A Year

    It’s Been A Year

    Jim and Katherine look back on a year of this pandemic podcast to what we’ve learned, what we haven’t, and what we can look forward to. (Also, Jim talks with Anthony Fauci!)
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    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
884 Ratings

884 Ratings

The Hurlor ,

Began for sound, scientific COVID info but stayed for Maeve

Always an interesting take on the weeks COVID news and I’ve learned a lot but the real reason I choose this over other COVID podcasts is Maeve Higgins’ humor and the nice dynamic between her and the main host.

gwepo ,

Please come back, Katherine!!

I have loved this podcast for months but it’s just not the same with the new co-host! Is Maeve her permanent replacement because if so I may have to stop subscribing. She does not seem as well informed as Katherine and not a good fit with Jim.

Caterina B. ,

Missing Katherine

I’ve loved this podcast but I’ve taken off 1 star because I’m not enjoying it nearly as much since Maeve replaced Katherine. She’s nice and all and has a charming accent, but there is too much unfunny chit chat now and I don’t find she clicks with Jim. I find myself fast forwarding the beginning and ending of every episode.

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