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Some excellent coronavirus podcast episodes, videos, and links

Evergreen content to understand the times

Erik Jones
Mar 15 · 5 min read

Everyone has their favorite source for up-to-the second news around the growing pandemic. These are selections that are biased more towards being just as useful two weeks from now as they are today.


Short Wave: Coronavirus Latest: Testing Challenges And Protecting At-Risk Elderly

  • We all know people on social media and IRL who love saying how much more deadly the flu is and why this is an overreaction. Host Emily Kwong asks NPR correspondent Nell Greenfieldboyce what to say to those who question why this is such a big deal. Send this quote to THOSE people. Timestamp of 13:06:

The coronavirus is getting more attention because it’s new and it’s worse than the flu. We don’t know the exact case fatality rate yet, but it’s clearly multiple times greater than that of the flu. With the flu we have antivirals, like you can go to your doctor and get a drug that is targeted to the flu. Its even got flu in the name, Tamiflu. We don’t have anything like that for this coronavirus. We don’t have rapid tests like we do for flu. We don’t have a vaccine like we do for flu. Healthcare systems are familiar with the flu, they understand its seasonality, they know it’s coming, they plan for it. The coronavirus just came out of nowhere, so it’s coming on top of everything else the hospitals are dealing with and that is the real reason why people want social distancing to slow the spread of this virus. It’s because we’re trying to keep the number of cases that require hospitalization low over a greater period of time to keep hospitals from getting slammed.”

The Daily: Why the U.S. Wasn’t Ready for the Coronavirus

  • This is a frustrating but inevitable side effect of only allocating resources to things that are immediately pressing. We pour resources in times of crises, and then slowly forget the lessons.

The Daily: Confronting a Pandemic

  • The measures China took were severe, but they seem to have worked. Will other countries be able to replicate the same outcomes?

Planet Money: Where’s the Vaccine?

  • The U.S. government has a process if we ever need to rapidly ramp up production of past coronavirus outbreaks. It involves secretly owning the production lines of egg factories that have an output in the millions.

Planet Money: Medicine for the Economy

  • There are different stimulus efforts that can be argued about, but none of them matter until we turn the corner around the spread of the coronavirus.


Last Week Tonight: Coronavirus [YouTube]

  • From all the way in the ancient times of March 2, but forever relevant. John Oliver delivers some truly devastating highlights of the harmful mixed messages Trump was giving at exactly the wrong time (and immediately after experts said the opposite).

3Blue1Brown: Exponential growth and epidemics [YouTube]

  • This YouTube channel is a full of excellent math explanations with entertaining visuals.

Joe Rogan Experience: How Serious is the Coronavirus? Infectious Disease Expert Michael Osterholm Explains [YouTube]

  • Even if you don’t like Joe Rogan, you should absolutely check this out. This is only a 15 minute clip from a much longer interview that can be watched here or listened to as a podcast here. Rogan asks some good questions and lets Osterholm do 95% of the talking. This is the single piece of media that made me fully realize what is about to happen in the US.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [YouTube page]

  • Short and no-nonsense, all delivered in a few minutes.

Peter Attia MD: Q & A videos. [YouTube]

  • Dr Attia is not an epidemiologists or an infectious disease doctor, but he is one of the best MD science communicators and does a fantastic job synthesizing what the experts are saying.
  • Dr Attia has a great podcast called The Drive for anyone interested in going all in around science based health, nutrition, and longevity. His most recent episodes are with infectious disease experts around Covid-19.


Next Draft [email newsletter]

  • I have been following Dave Pell’s newsletter for years and I find it to be the most helpful synopsis and curation of news vs anything similar. He is going to start doing seven days a week instead of five, and will continue having excellent collections of coronavirus updates and analysis.

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now [Medium article]

  • An extremely in-depth analysis of all things coronavirus, particularly the lag between real cases and reported cases and what to expect.

The story behind ‘flatten the curve,’ the defining chart of the coronavirus. [Fast Company article]

Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” [Washington Post article]

  • Journalists who work with data visualizations are really shining this past few weeks, and this graphics heavy article tells the whole story even if you look only at the visualizations.

Why you are harming others by not “overreacting”. [Tweet]

  • Taleb has a tone that is not always my taste, but in this case he is 100% spot on.

“Under such conditions it becomes selfish, even psychopathic, to act according to what is called ‘rational’ behavior — to make one’s own immediate rankings of risk conflict with those of society, even generate risks for society. This is similar to other tragedies of the common, except that there is life and death.”

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Erik Jones

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I love writing about and recommending podcasts and links that make you think. Get recommendations via email every few weeks at

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