What Next

How the Next Pandemic Starts

If we keep encroaching on wild animals’ habitats, we’ll catch what they’re catching.


Episode Notes

Bats have been linked to a “greatest hits” list of infectious diseases—not just COVID-19, but SARS, Marburg, and even ebola. And now, 1.8 billion people are living in “jump zones” where the next viral spillover may occur.

Guest: Ryan McNeill, London-based deputy editor for the Reuters global data-journalism team.

If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Dear Prudence—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on What Next. Sign up now at slate.com/whatnextplus to help support our work.

Podcast production by Elena Schwartz, Madeline Ducharme, Anna Phillips, Paige Osburn, and Rob Gunther.


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.

All episodes


  • 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.