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Guest host Chana Joffe-Walt talks to a carpenter whose job output went from fixing doors to something more urgent in the last year. (9 minutes)

Act One: Three Bottles of Joy

Station agent Moneta Lewis worked underground to shepherd disappearing commuters during the darkest days of the pandemic.

Act Two: The $25 Tip

The pandemic forced restaurant server Shelly Ortiz to put on her “Covid Goggles.” What she saw through them made her reevaluate her ideas of what’s important.

Act Three: Teacher Number Four

In Maine, early childhood educator Miss Jordyn Rossignol had several members of her workforce quit. But none hit her quite as hard as Shania.

Act Four: 12 Million Thank You Meals

What does “thank you” actually look like? And who gets one? For Flato Alexander and other essential workers, all sorts of symbols that hadn’t bothered them much before suddenly became unbearable.

Act Four: All My Love

One of the 590,000 casualties of U.S. Covid-19 this year was Leiah Danielle Jones.


Host Ira Glass goes to a block in New York City where, over a year into the pandemic, neighbors are still clapping for health care workers every night at 7 p.m. (7 minutes)


You can’t get herd immunity until you deal with the herd, and get enough of them moving together in the same direction. That’s been difficult this past year, in a way it’s never been during any other epidemic in our history.

Act One: Hazardous to Your Health Official

Reporter Anna Maria Barry-Jester tells the story of two public health officials in Santa Cruz County, California, whose lives have been completely upended by threats and harassment over the past year. (20 minutes)This story is a collaboration with Kaiser Health News. You can read their version here.

Act Two: The Elephant in the Zoom

David Kestenbaum follows one person as they try to find something—a set of words, some facts, a story—to convince Trump Republicans to get themselves vaccinated.

Act One

Reporter Paul Tough and Host Ira Glass look at the biggest change in admissions this year: colleges no longer requiring the SATs. Paul speaks to a student whose SAT score determined her future.

Act Four: Quarantweening

Producer Chana Joffe-Walt talks to a seventh grader who doesn’t have a seventh grade, or an eighth grade. (11 minutes)

Act Two: Winter’s Bone

Elna Baker notices a change in how people in New York City are dating during the pandemic. (12 minutes)