Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face: Trauma

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

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

As the death toll from COVID-19 mounts, we take a look at the psychological toll the pandemic could leave in its wake. How do different societies respond to incidents of collective trauma? What happens when the source of that trauma is invisible to the human eye? And what can we learn from the liquidators of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster who were scarred not by a traumatic past but an uncertain and fearful future?

On today’s episode, Don’t Touch Your Face host Amy Mackinnon is joined by Anne Speckhard, an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Further Reading

The Forgotten Apocalypse: Katherine Anne Porter’s “Pale Horse, Pale Rider,” Traumatic Memory, and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918,” Southern Literary Journal

Voices From the Inside: Psychological Responses to Toxic Disasters,” Toxic Turmoil: Psychological and Societal Consequences of Ecological Disasters

Life Under Lockdown: Here’s a Glimpse of What’s Coming for You, America,” Foreign Policy

About Don’t Touch Your Face:  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  See All Episodes

More Don’t Touch Your Face episodes:

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.

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

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

Don’t Touch Your Face: Pandemic Within a Pandemic

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

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

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