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Act Two: The Other Extinguishers

For years one group of people has been trying to push a giant boulder to the top of a hill, like Sisyphus. But in this case, it looks like they’ve actually succeeded! David Kestenbaum spoke with four scientists who have been working on a coronavirus vaccine, one that was just shown to work.

Act Five: The Leftovers

A week after starting classes, a Covid outbreak forces a university to send students back home. Producer Robyn Semien takes a tour of the emptying campus.


Guest host Bim Adewunmi sits in for Ira Glass and talks to retired NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao about how a space mission compares with living alone in a one-bed apartment on earth.

Act One: The Unbearable Part

Writer Danielle Evans has been almost completely alone all quarantine — and she’s had time to think about grief, and loneliness and what might come after this pandemic is over. (17 minutes)A version of this essay first appeared in the Corona Correspondences series at The Sewanee Review.


We meet the doctors. Rana Awdish spends hours of each day walking the floors of the ICU checking in on her co-workers, which means that maybe more than any single person in the hospital she knows best what the staff has been going through at each stage of this pandemic. One doctor that has deep ties to Detroit is Geneva Tatem.

Act One: Pod Bless America

When it comes to caring for Covid-19 patients, it’s the nurses who are carrying the heaviest burden. Ben Calhoun spent weeks talking to the nurses in the first Covid-19 unit to open in the ICU – Pod 4.

Act Two: Stan’s Good Day

We found out about a patient from a recording made by young doctor named Stan Linder. Producer Emanuele Berry put this together.

Act Three: Granger in a Strange Land

Robert Granger was a patient in Pod 4 for several weeks. During that time, his daughter learns something about him she'd never realized before.


Host Ira Glass talks to an Oregon ICU doctor about his desire to help fight COVID in the country’s biggest hot spots, and his frustration over the surprising reason why he can’t.

Act Three: Cold Case

Nadia’s family has been isolating and disinfecting everything for weeks, and yet a cold still managed to creep in. How?


Couples therapist Esther Perel talks to Ira about the very particular ways she’s seeing lockdown impact couples around the world.  Listen to season three of her podcast, “Where Should We Begin: Couples Under Lockdown.” (13 minutes)

Act Two: State of Emergency

Producer Miki Meek talks to two emergency medical service workers in New York about the sheer number of 911 calls they are responding to, and how they are coping under the stress of being on constant high alert.


A nurse giving instructions to her partner in case she dies from COVID-19; a brother and sister talking every day, all of a sudden. (9 minutes)We first heard about nurse Elise Barrett in a story by Eric Boodman for STAT.

Act One: The Inside Game

What it’s like inside a small New York apartment with a toddler and two parents who are very sick with COVID-19. Producer Ben Calhoun talks to his brother-in-law, Elia Einhorn.

Act Two: A View from the Park

Producer Emanuele Berry talks to Jiayang Fan about how Jiayang’s trying to protect her mother, who she worries about as the virus spreads across New York City.

Act Three: Outbreak Breakout

Across the country this week, thousands of incarcerated people have been ordered released early from prisons and jails to try to protect them from the coronavirus. Producer Sean Cole talks to Terry Smith, who got out of the San Francisco County jail last week.