Don’t Touch Your Face

A Foreign Policy podcast covering all aspects of the coronavirus

Latest Episode

Don’t Touch Your Face: What the AIDS Epidemic Tells Us About COVID-19

On our final episode (for now), we examine an older public health crisis and the lessons it offers.

On the last day of 2019, China reported an unusual outbreak in Wuhan, a port city with a population of 11 million. Within two months, the disease would spread to almost every continent on the globe and kill thousands of people.

From Foreign Policy, a podcast about the extent of the COVID-19 contagion, the threat it poses, and what countries are doing to contain it. Join FP’s James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon as they track the spread of the virus and explore what it means for people’s everyday lives.

Have a coronavirus question for us to explore? Email it to



James Palmer is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.


Amy Mackinnon is a staff writer at Foreign Policy.

More Episodes


Don’t Touch Your Face: Dating During Covid-19

On this week’s episode: How the pandemic is changing the way we meet people.

Protesters wear facemasks and hold signs outside the Minneapolis 1st police precinct during a demonstration against police brutality and racism in Minnesota on June 13.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Pandemic Within a Pandemic

On this week’s episode: How the world may see more protests as lockdowns lift.

A man, wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus, poses for a selfie in front of a Buddha painting during the Visak Bochea Buddhist celebration in Phnom Penh on May 6.

Don’t Touch Your Face: The Southeast Asia Conundrum

On this week’s episode: The infection numbers have been low, but that hasn’t stopped some leaders from using the pandemic to restrict freedoms.

People commute on a bus during morning rush hour in Beijing on May 22.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Our Cities May Never Be the Same Again

On this week's podcast: How the coronavirus could transform urban life.


Don’t Touch Your Face: Corona and the Killer App

On this week's episode: How technology has made our pandemic lives better—and worse.


Don’t Touch Your Face: Generation Coronavirus

On this week’s episode: The pandemic will shape young people for decades to come.


Don’t Touch Your Face: Would You Volunteer to be Infected With the Coronavirus?

On this week’s podcast: Human challenge trials could speed up vaccine development, but at what cost?

A herd of goats take advantage of quiet streets near Trinity Square, in Llandudno, north Wales, on March 31.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Sorry, Nature Isn’t Returning

On this week’s episode: Why the environmental benefits of the lockdown are fleeting at best.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, on April 27.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Women Leaders Are Flattening the Curve

On this week’s episode: New Zealand and other countries led by women have done better than most at responding to the pandemic.

A man, wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus, walks past food stalls in a neighborhood in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province, on April 20.

Don’t Touch Your Face: The Way Out

On this week’s episode: What needs to be done before the lockdowns can be lifted.

A security guard hands out an instruction sheet outside a State of Michigan Unemployment Agency office in Cadillac Place in Detroit on March 26. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

Don’t Touch Your Face: The Price We Pay

On this week’s podcast: The coronavirus cure is still better than the disease.

An Israeli police officer speaks to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish student at a Yeshiva in Bnei Barak, a city east of Tel Aviv with a large ultra-Orthodox Jewish population, on April 2.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Israel

On today’s podcast: The ultra-Orthodox challenge to Israel’s coronavirus response.

A worker disinfects a Vietnam Airlines plane amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on March 3.

Don’t Touch Your Face: The Airline Industry Crashes

On today’s podcast: How airlines are responding to their biggest threat yet.

The Abkhazia Parliament Building in Sukhumi.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Breakaway States and the Pandemic

On today’s podcast: How frozen conflicts could become a global Achilles’s heel.

Family members of a victim of the coronavirus mourn during a funeral in Jakarta on March 31. BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images

Don’t Touch Your Face: Trauma

On today’s podcast: Pandemic lessons from Chernobyl’s liquidators.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a vote about the government's bill on the protection against the new coronavirus at the plenary session of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest on March 30.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Autocrats

On today’s podcast: How authoritarian leaders are cracking down on the coronavirus—and civil liberties.

People walk across frozen Tjornin, a lake in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Dec. 7, 2017.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Iceland

On today’s episode: What the world can learn from Iceland’s strategy of widespread testing.

Daily Life In Beijing Amid Coronavirus

Don’t Touch Your Face: Tokyo Olympics Postponed

On today’s podcast: A look ahead at a year without sports.

A group of migrants waits for food distribution inside the makeshift migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, on March 19.

Don’t Touch Your Face: The Border

On Today’s Episode: A migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border braces for the coronavirus.

Employees in medical masks at the Tbilisi Public Service Hall as Georgia bans entry of foreign nationals to the country starting on March 18 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Don’t Touch Your Face: An Unlikely Success Story

On today’s podcast: How early intervention helped the country of Georgia slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A French police officer speaks to a man as she patrols on the Datcha beach after its closure to stop the spread of the coronavirus on the French overseas island of Guadeloupe on March 20.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Islands

On today’s episode: Islands have advantages during a pandemic—and some drawbacks.

Police warn a young man for not complying with the mandatory quarantine to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Buenos Aires on March 20. Mariano Gabriel Sanchez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Don’t Touch Your Face: Lockdown

On today’s episode: Why you should start preparing for a full lockdown.

U.S. President Donald Trump appears on television monitors as he hold a news conference with members of his Coronavirus Task Force at the White House in Washington on March 19.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Media Coverage of the Coronavirus

On Today’s Podcast: We look at the challenges of reporting on a fast-moving pandemic

Odalys K. Fernandez holds a sign reading, "Caution!! Coronavirus risk at Miramar ICE cage", as she joins protesters outside a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Miramar, Florida, on March 13.

Don’t Touch Your Face: At Risk Groups

On today’s podcast: It’s more than just the elderly and people with underlying conditions who are vulnerable to the coronavirus.

A thermal camera monitor shows the body temperatures of a man at the customs checkpoint in Sungai Kolok, Thailand

Don’t Touch Your Face: Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation

On today’s podcast: We look at how conspiracy theories have spread as quickly as the coronavirus itself.

A woman looks out of a window at the Novomoskovsky multipurpose medical center for patients suspected of having the coronavirus in Moscow on March 16.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Managing Mental Health Amid a Pandemic

On today’s episode: We look at some practical ways to manage the stress and anxiety brought by the coronavirus outbreak.

U.S. President Donald Trump adjusts the microphone for Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases

Don’t Touch Your Face: Partisanship

On today’s podcast, we look at why opinion polls are showing a sharp partisan divide on the coronavirus in the United States.

A health worker wears a protective suit as he screens bus passengers near the Czech border in Gorzyczki, Poland, on March 10.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Biosecurity and Borders

On today’s podcast: We look at how countries are using borders as their first line of defense

Camera operators set up in front of a maps showing the distribution of coronavirus cases worldwide during a daily briefing at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Feb. 28.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Crunching the Numbers

On today’s podcast: We look at why some countries are reporting surprisingly low numbers of coronavirus cases

A student in a protective mask peers out of the window of a quarantined building at the St. Petersburg Medical Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, on March 5.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Surviving Self-Isolation

On today’s podcast: We look at how countries and individuals are turning to quarantine in a bid to slow the coronavirus.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Why Global Problems Require Local Solutions

On today’s podcast: On our first episode, we discuss why there’s no one way to stop an international outbreak.


Introducing Don’t Touch Your Face

Foreign Policy’s new podcast covering all aspects of the coronavirus, hosted by senior editor James Palmer and staff writer Amy Mackinnon.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

I Spy

I Spy

Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation. Want swag? Check out I Spy's merch by clicking here.


First Person

Each week, one guest whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world.

To learn more about creating a podcast with FP Studios, contact Andrew Sollinger at