Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Podcasts about COVID-19

Image by Menage a Moi.
We are still learning about the coronavirus (aka COVID-19 or SARS-COV-2).

I usually read as a way to digest information. 

However, I have been exploring podcasts as a way to learn about the current pandemic. 

By using various search terms on Spotify, I found more than 50 podcasts on COVID-19.

There are many more episodes about the virus / the pandemic within existing podcasts.

To date, I have listened to at least one episode of 50 podcasts dedicated to COVID-19.

Now I'm narrowing the field by selecting those that

* Have good sound quality
* Maintain a good focus, relatively free of banter
* Provide current data and results from current research
* Hosted by experts and/or interviews experts
* Might refer to technical language about virology / biochemistry, but aimed at the lay reader/listener rather than at fellow scientific and/or medical experts.

My Favorites COVID-19 (aka C19) Podcasts

In Random Order

Vaccine 411 LINK

Sounds That Brand. Twice Weekly with a run time around 4 minutes

This podcast briefly lists how many vaccines are in development (130 plus), which have advanced to stage 2 or 3, and eventually, which have moved past that stage. This podcast also identifies which private company or government is sponsoring the R&D, production, or dissemination of the vaccines that are the furthest along. There are some projections for availability for distribution, but this mainly just focuses on tracking the development process.

Prognosis Daily: COVID-19, Life During a Global Pandemic LINK

Bloomberg. M-F with a run time around 13 minutes

This news agency draws on 120 bureaus around the world, but each episode is focused on a C19 issue such as masks, a specific outbreak, or a demographic
Coronavirus Global Update LINK

BBC World Service. Daily with a run time around 5 minutes

With international travel, linked economies, immigration, and shared natural resources, we are all global citizens. BBC gives brief updates on key headlines from around the world.

Osterholm Update: COVID-19 LINK

CIDRAP. Wednesdays with a run time around 55 minutes

Dr. Michael Osterholm is the founder and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. He usually discusses two or three topics, and he answers questions submitted by listeners.  

In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt LINK

Lemonade Media. Twice Weekly with a run time around 45 minutes

Slavitt used to run Medicare/Medicaid. He's now at home with his family, sharing his insights and interviewing experts. His 17 year-old-son Zach also participates a little, bringing in a valuable perspective. 

Reopening America LINK

iHeart Radio. Once or Twice Daily with a run time around 10 minutes

Oscar Ramirez covers an array of C19 issues, but he keeps an eye on what we need to do control and defeat the virus so that we can reopen schools, businesses, services, etc. 

Emerging Infectious Diseases LINK

CDC. Once or Twice Weekly with a run time around 25 minutes

These podcasts can be a little technical because they are covering research about C19.  But even if I only get only part of the content, it's more than I would have known previously. 

Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction with Dr. SG LINK

CNN.  Daily with a run time around 10 minutes

Dr. Sanya Gupta presents key headlines and conducts short interviews with experts about C19 without getting technical. 

Public Health on Call LINK

Johns Hopkins. Daily with a run time around 17 minutes

The Bloomberg School of Public Health does discuss the scientific aspects of C19 in many of its podcasts, but much of its content focuses on social, emotional and cultural dimensions of the pandemic.

Epidemic with Dr. CG & RK LINK

Just Human. Twice Weekly with a run time around 30 minutes

Dr. Celine Gounder and Ronald Klain interview nationally and internationally renown experts on topics related to C19. At times the conversation gets technical, but I find most of it is accessible.

OK. It's time to come clean.

I listen to these 10 podcasts as well (for 20 total).

In alphabetical order
I'm teaching three university classes this fall, so I will probably cut back to just 3-5 podcasts. But I wanted to share what I learned by getting super obsessed about podcasts during June and July.

Check Out My Discard Pile--just in case!

My favorites may not include what will end up being your favorite C19 podcast! So here is a list without descriptions or links to the ones that didn't make the cut based on my preferences.

Expert vs Lay Person. Some of the C19 podcasts are conducted by people who have MDs and/or PhDs in virology, infectious diseases, serology, or public health. I was impressed, but most of the content was going over my head. 

Time. Most COVID-19 podcasts that run between the 10 minute to 50 minute range. 

Frequency. The frequency ranges from weekly to twice daily or somewhere in between.

An Embarrassment of Riches!

Here I ones I do not listen to. But you might like one or more of them (such as The Comeback, which is about COVID-19 and sports.)

These podcasts range from 1 minute AP news-wire updates published multiple times a day to 2 hour technical discussions between medical experts who talk once or twice a month.

In alphabetical order
  • The Antigen by Pfizer (a short 12 podcast series that has concluded)
  • BBC Inside Science
  • Doctor Vaughan's COVID-19 Updates
  • The Comeback: COVID-19 and the return of sports
  • Coronavirus 411 by Sound That Brands via William Corbin
  • Coronavirus, Briefly by WBUR of the Boston Metro Area
  • Coronavirus Update by James Watkins 
  • COVID-19 (was Daily, now) Weekly by RadioMD
  • COVID-19: What's Next by the University of Toronto
  • Epidemiology Counts
  • Fighting Coronavirus by American Innovations.
  • Newswatch: COVID-19 Updates from the Associated Press
  • NPR: Consider This. They did rename this to be a daily C19 update for a time.
  • Pandemic: Coronavirus Edition
  • Pandemic Economics by University of Chicago
  • Podcast-19 by FiveThirtyEight
  • Viral: COVID-19 host Ian Doyle
I found these podcasts on Spotify, but many are also available in other places. 


  1. You have some interesting podcasts listed here. I have never listened to a podcast but a couple of these I may tune in to. I am retired and the pandemic situation changes moment by moment.

    1. You don't have to use an App such as Spotify for most of these because they host them on webpages. I'm new to podcasts as well, but I have quite enjoyed listening to hosts interview experts. I feel as though I got invited to a dinner party attended by a group of warm elites. I hope you find at least one favorite to help you negotiate through this pandemic.