What Next

On a Wild Goose Chase for Masks

Unprecedented demand and relaxed government rules create some big winners—and a lot of losers.


Episode Notes

The global scarcity of masks has shown us the federal government’s desperate side. Procurement rules have been loosened. Prices have soared. And a shadowy market has emerged where deals fall through all the time – leaving people without the gear they need to protect themselves and save lives.

Guest: J. David McSwane, reporter for ProPublica.

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


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.