Cover art for podcast Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Open Source with Christopher Lydon

50 EpisodesProduced by Christopher LydonWebsite

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics


Plague Year Two

We labeled it the Plague Year even before we began living it. The news last March came with medieval and bubonic overtones of catastrophe. A virus bearing down on the whole planet’s human population is still a shock and surprise, no matter that it had been forecast. One year in, it lives up to its grim billing. Two and a half million deaths worldwide, half a million in the U.S. It’s a $16 trillion virus, counting medical costs and opportunities lost. It’s been a stress test on this very social species of ours, lots of us living in isolation or behind masks. It’s been a mirror, too, both humbling and inspiring, of medical invention, and heroic kindness in care. It’s a map as well of race-and-class divisions we prefer not to see.

The angel of death striking a door during the plague of Rome. Engraving by J.G. Levasseur after J. Delaunay. Credit: Wellcome Collection.

A year in pandemic fog has challenged or changed our lives entirely: how we work, worship, worry, socialize, study, celebrate. On the first anniversary of our COVID consciousness, it’s easy to feel we’re drowning in information. At the same time, we’re bereft of understanding about the trouble we’re in and best ways out of it. So the mission this radio hour is to reach out of the fog for composite understanding of what’s unfolding in and around us.

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