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Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face: The Price We Pay

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
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

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

Over the past three weeks, around 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits, smashing all previous records of jobless claims many times over. Experts say that number is set to climb even further over the coming weeks as an untold number of workers have struggled to file claims due to system overwhelm. 

Last month U.S. President Donald Trump cautioned that the “cure” for the coronavirus—staying and at home and social distancing—must not be worse than the problem posed by the pandemic itself, and he suggested that only enforcing social distancing for a bare-minimum 15 days would help keep the economy from collapsing even further. But is that really the case?

On this week’s episode, Don’t Touch Your Face host Amy Mackinnon is joined by the economist Betsey Stevenson, a member of former President Barack Obama’s White House Council of Economic Advisors, to look at the math of that question and whether the patchwork shutdown of the U.S. economy could slow future recovery. We’ll also hear from Shannon Darcy, a bartender and server from Philadelphia who is one of the millions of people laid off last month.

Further Reading:

The Normal Economy is Never Coming Back,” Foreign Policy 

Restarting America Means People Will Die. So When Do We Do It?New York Times

How the Pandemic Will End,” the Atlantic

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 donttouchyourface@foreignpolicy.com.  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.

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