What Next

Where Social Distancing Is Impossible

“The virus doesn’t move at the pace of government.”


Episode Notes

Rikers Island was not built to slow a pandemic. Buildings are decrepit, and the churn of guards and new inmates makes infectious diseases incredibly hard to contain. Over the past several weeks, Rikers has released about a thousand inmates in an attempt to lessen the public health threat posed by a COVID-19 outbreak in the jail complex. But it’s not clear that will be enough.

Guest: Rachael Bedard, senior director of geriatrics and complex care services at New York City’s jail complex on Rikers Island.

Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, Danielle Hewitt, and Mara Silvers.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.