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28 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Episode 34: Silver Linings
Now that most students are back in school in the Northwest, there are a lot of feelings going around. Many parents have watched their children struggle to learn from a screen. A lot of kids have become depressed, isolated and disengaged this past year.
10 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
Episode 33: Coming Back to Life
On the day I meet 86-year-old Chris Swanson inside her room at Horizon House in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, it feels like a party. “Yay for family!” says Swanson with a smile.
28 minutes | Mar 9, 2021
Episode 32: The Vaccine Hunters
When 65-year-old Bonnie McGuire was vaccinated earlier this year for COVID-19, a huge weight of worry disappeared in an instant. “I felt amazingly serene," she says. "It was a strange feeling. I've never had this experience, and none of us in this country ever have, where this shot will keep you, you know, you will not die on a ventilator alone in a hospital – with this one little jab in your arm. It's startling the simplicity of that."
37 minutes | Feb 10, 2021
Episode 31: The Long Winter
Emergencies do something to our brains. A few months after a catastrophe, people find themselves more irritable and less able to concentrate. Rates of depression and anxiety rise. Same with substance use and suicide. This has been observed in disaster after disaster. In fact there are three distinct phases: the honeymoon phase, the disillusionment phase and the recovery phase. People who lived through Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 know what all of this feels like.
12 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
Episode 30: Words Matter
Living during a global pandemic is inherently stressful. Stress can negatively impact how we make decisions. “And so when people are feeling that stress, then cortisol floods their brain, and it really impairs people's ability to process information," says Meredith Li-Vollmer, a risk communicator at Public Health — Seattle & King County.
15 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
Episode 29: The Slow Vaccine Rollout
It’s been about one month since the first coronavirus vaccine arrived in Washington state. Residents, some of them in tears, watched a nurse receive the first injection. This event was supposed to herald the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic. But, since then, the vaccine rollout has progressed more slowly than some had hoped. More than 600,000 doses have arrived in Washington, but only about a third of those have been administered.
8 minutes | Dec 24, 2020
Episode 28: Socially Distanced Santa
The beard is real. The suit is red. And he's separated from his guests by several feet and plexiglass. We meet Santas intent on creating memories, even in a pandemic. Note: This episode is especially appealing to those who appreciate the sounds of squealing children.
35 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
Episode 27: Making the Rent
The coronavirus pandemic is testing our society’s safety net in ways we never imagined. There are millions of people across the country and thousands in Washington state who are unable to keep up with their rent.
17 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Episode 26: The COVID College Experience
College, in the minds of many incoming freshmen, is about so much more than education. It’s supposed to be a formative experience that creates lifelong memories and lifelong friendships, an adventure that sets the stage for the rest of your life. But what if your freshman year coincides with a pandemic?
16 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
Episode 25: Therapies in the Works
Things are getting a little scary out there. The number of new coronavirus cases is on the rise. Hospital beds are filling up across the country. Deaths are climbing. Sobering stuff. As we wait for the approval of vaccines, development and testing of better treatments is crucial. Effective therapies don’t get as much attention, but they are just as important in making this disease less deadly. This is what we’re talking about in the latest episode of Transmission.
17 minutes | Oct 2, 2020
Episode 24: What We Know
Now that we are several months into this pandemic, we are entering a phase that many doctors and researchers are worried about. Let’s take a look at where things stand.
34 minutes | Sep 4, 2020
Episode 23: Back to School, Sort of...
In March of this year, as the novel coronavirus started to take hold of the region, students and teachers were notified that in person school was over and remote learning would get underway. At first, everyone thought the move to online learning would be temporary, but it wasn’t. “We got higher and higher numbers across the state, across the nation. And we continued to be questioning, well, how do we do this? And we didn't. In ten minutes we had to pack up our classrooms and get kids ready. We didn't have the time to prepare to provide students all of the pieces and resources that they needed to do this well at home,” said Shannon Ergun, the president of the Tacoma Education Association, the union that represents Tacoma’s public school teachers. While some students thrived learning online, many struggled with isolation and a lack of structure. Parents of children with special needs are perhaps having the greatest difficulty under this new normal. Daniela Hall is a teacher who lives in
25 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
Episode 22: The Race for a Vaccine
It’s been more than five months since the nation’s first novel coronavirus death happened, right here in the Seattle area. Now, more than 100 vaccine candidates are being developed, and dozens have entered the human-trial stage. But they’re likely still a long way off from mass production and distribution. In this episode of Transmission, host Gabriel Spitzer and producer Jennifer Wing discuss how the RNA vaccine works and why some elements of vaccine development are going so much more quickly than usual. And we meet Larry Corey, who is coordinating all the major vaccine trials nationwide. He explains how the effort works behind the scenes. “The press likes to call this a race,” Corey says. “If it is a race, it’s a race against time for us as a country.” But at the end of this race, he stresses, we’re all winners. “There’s no one vaccine that can be manufactured in a short period of time that would be given to everybody.” Please consider giving Transmission a rating and review on Apple
18 minutes | Jul 17, 2020
Episode 21: The Long Recovery
Tammy Edwards survived COVID-19. It was miserable, but she made it. She had hoped that once the virus ran its course, she could then get back to her life and her work as a nurse in Tacoma. Federal guidelines suggest a typical person sick with COVID should get better after a week or two . Tammy Edwards is three months past that point, and she is still recovering. “It’s not a two-week, blanket, flu like thing,” she says. “Every day you feel it. You feel the shortness of breath, you feel the headaches — I’ve had a headache for two days straight — I’ve had a rash, I have had ear ringing, I still can’t smell. COVID’s very sneaky.” As a region, and a country, we have been fixated on the first wave of infections and whether it has crested, and if a second wave is now gathering strength. But there could be another wave, off in the distance, of long-term health complications and disabilities that could be with us for a generation. On today’s episode, the long recovery: what we know and don’t
14 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
Episode 20: Lockup to Lockdown
Imagine getting out of prison after almost two decades, and being released into … this. That’s what was on Jennifer Tilford’s mind as she stood in the parking lot at Cedar Creek Corrections Center, waiting for the man she’s been married to for three years, but has never been alone with. Life for both of them is about to change radically. “There is no normal and there's not going to be the same normal ever again,” Jennifer said. “Not only because Jason's coming home, but because of the whole virus.”
17 minutes | Jun 12, 2020
Episode 19: The Unpaid
Since the COVID-19 pandemic landed in Washington, the economic fallout has driven more than a million people in the state to apply for unemployment insurance. Those payments have become the safety net for workers during the worst recession in many decades. The federal government beefed it up significantly in the CARES Act — a recognition of how urgent the situation is for tens of millions of Americans. But now, after weeks and, in some cases, months out of work, large numbers of unemployed Washingtonians still have not gotten paid. There’s plenty of responsibility to go around — unprecedented demand, fraud of a shocking magnitude, red tape — but the upshot is that people such as laid-off bartender Steve Weaver say they’re being pushed to the brink of financial ruin. “Uh, we need our money, we need it now. People need to live,” he says. Today’s episode: The Unpaid. KNKX’s Jennifer Wing invites us to walk in the shoes of Steve Weaver and others. Please consider giving Transmission a
28 minutes | Jun 10, 2020
Episode 18: How You Holding Up?
A lot of us this year have gotten used to relying on computer models for projections of how many new COVID-19 cases we can expect, or when the economy might start to rebound. But those models can’t tell us how we’re going to feel, or how lockdown and grief and social breakdown will change the way we see and experience the world. Well, turns out there’s a model for that, too.
25 minutes | Jun 2, 2020
Episode 17: Not My First Pandemic
We are a country wracked by illness, by economic crisis, and by tears in our social fabric that have existed all along, but are too gaping to ignore, once again. How do we think about these twin emergencies — the pandemic, and the spasm of grief and anger over racism and police violence? What lessons could history possibly teach us about such an unprecedented situation? In this episode we bring you a story about race during a pandemic — it was a hundred years ago, but sheds a lot of light on what it means to be in America right now. It comes to us from Mary Anne Moorman, a storyteller and longtime civil rights activist. It’s about her white grandmother, who died during the 1918 flu pandemic. She died in the arms of her best friend — the daughter of former slaves. We also meet a young woman named Aminata Kamara, a senior at Garfield High School in Seattle. She is originally from Sierra Leone, which struggled with a terrifying outbreak of Ebola for almost two years. So, unlike most of us
24 minutes | May 27, 2020
Episode 16: Family Planning
In many ways, “family planning” is a misnomer. The “planning” part only goes so far. Even with all the tools at your disposal, a lot of it is mostly out of your control and up to chance. A million little things have to go exactly right to bring life into the world. When you throw a global pandemic into the equation, the typical uncertainty that comes with starting a family is amplified to tremendous proportions. In this episode of Transmission, we explore how the response to COVID-19 has altered the lives of growing families.
22 minutes | May 21, 2020
Episode 15: The Hardest Hit
As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, some clear patterns have emerged. One is that people of color are being affected by this virus at higher rates than white people. In Washington state, the disparities are especially stark among the Latino population. More than a third of the state's COVID-19 cases have been Latino, which is way out of proportion to their 13 percent share of the general population.
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