On Point

Weekdays 9-11 a.m.

Hear provocative voices and passionate discussion of the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.


We check in with several states that are moving forward with reopening. How have businesses adapted? Are people going back to work? And what’s happened to infection rates?


Rose Scott, host of “Closer Look with Rose Scott” on WABE, an NPR station in Atlanta. (@waberosescott)

Handwashing can help kill the coronavirus. But you may be surprised by how short the history of handwashing actually is among humans.


Miryam Wahrman, professor of biology at William Paterson University. Author of “The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World,” published in 2016. (@MiryamWahrman)

The airline industry faces its greatest crisis yet with the pandemic wiping out most travel. When will we feel safe flying again?

Phil LeBeau, CNBC reporter covering the auto and airline industry. (@Lebeaucarnews)

A new report considers evidence that possibly suggests the coronavirus was circulating outside of China as early as late last year. We talk to epidemiologists about how that changes what we know about the virus.


Bill Hanage, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and faculty member in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (@BillHanage)

How Coronavirus Will Change City Life

May 7, 2020

Past pandemics changed the way of life in cities around the world. We look at how city features were inspired by history’s worst disease outbreaks.


Brian Melican, journalist, author and translator. (@melican)

Does the coronavirus spell the end of the global supply chain? Some manufacturing experts say supply chains have to get shorter in order to be stronger.


Ravi Anupindi, professor of operations research and management and technology and operations; faculty director at the Center for Value Chain Innovation at the University of Michigan. (@RAnupindi)

Astronaut Christina Koch spent a record 11 months in space, the longest spaceflight of any woman. She returned to Earth in February and is just completing her NASA-mandated readjustment period. What’s life like when you leave a space station, only to be confined in your own home under lockdown?

As states across the U.S. begin to get back to business — not as usual, but in phases — we take a look at the evolving retail landscape and how people will shop in a post-pandemic world.


Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN business retail reporter. (@nmeyersohn)

What day is it again? Has it been a year since February? Or a day? We take a look at the science behind how the pandemic is warping our sense of time.

At the end of the hour, we hear from Stephen Henderson, host of “Detroit Today,” about the loss of WDET listener and caller Tom Wilson

When the economy slows, so does the demand for oil. Prices have plummeted and storage tanks are filled to capacity. We look at the future of the oil industry.

Contact tracing. It’s infectious disease detective work. We learn all about the techniques and technology used to track down people who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.

Can we design cities that heal? We talk with an architect and urban planner about how to change the brick-and-mortar world for better human health.


Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group, an architecture and design. (@MASSDesignLab)

Normally, each night of April would be filled with sporting events. But these are anything but normal times. So what are we losing — economically, physically and culturally — in a world without professional sports?


Shira Springer, WBUR sports and society reporter. Contributing writer for the Boston Globe and SportsBusiness Journal. (@ShiraSpringer)

The coronavirus pandemic has jump-started America’s innovation engine as companies, institutions and entrepreneurs step up to the challenge.


Scott Cohen, co-founder of New Lab. (@Newlab)

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy.”

Søren Kierkegaard

If you’re at home more now — and doing less — does that actually feel better? We’ll talk about what the pandemic is teaching us about the endless urge to be busy.

As some places approach their third month of lockdown, we’ll check back in with a quarantine researcher about what’s working and what isn’t.

The coronavirus is affecting the most vulnerable elderly Americans. We’ll examine how nursing homes became such dangerous places for the people they’re meant to protect.


Louise Aronson, professor of geriatrics at the University of California. Author of “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life.” (@LouiseAronson)

International relations in the COVID-19 era. Could the pandemic usher in a new spirit of global cooperation … or harden international distrust?

Devastation for American small businesses. Federal relief funds ran out almost instantaneously. More may be on the way, but what can be done to save small business?


Jonny Liu, owner and founder of Mantra Coffee in Azusa, California.

At a time when the public needs information, local news is taking a major hit from the coronavirus. Can local news survive the pandemic, just when it’s needed most?


David Folkenflik, On Point co-host. NPR media correspondent. (@davidfolkenflik)

End-of-life care that provides clarity and dignity. We talk about the challenges of providing palliative care in the middle of a pandemic.

A look at the Strategic National Stockpile. Where is it, what is it? What should it be used for? We’ll talk with the man who was once in charge of the whole thing.


Greg Burel, former director of the Strategic National Stockpile. (@GregBurel)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

Got a question or comment about learning in the time of COVID-19? You can email Stephanie Jones at sjones1@uga.edu.

What do we really want our kids to learn in this moment in history? Two education professors say throw out academics, we simply need to teach kids how to be.

Asian Americans face a wave of intense racism during the coronavirus pandemic. George Takei reflects on our past and this present moment.


George Takei, actor and activist. (@GeorgeTakei)

The Race To Develop A Coronavirus Vaccine

Apr 14, 2020

How do you quickly develop a safe, effective vaccine in the middle of a historic global pandemic? We’ll ask researchers who are trying to do just that.


Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. (@BIDMChealth)

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins us to talk about her new book, “Hell and Other Destinations.” She also shares her observations about the coronavirus pandemic and lessons we can take away from it about working together to solve global problems.

To hear the radio diary about the bar-turned-grocery store selling items to New Yorkers in need, click here.

New York City’s battle with COVID-19: full morgues, empty streets and a lot of questions about how and why the virus hit so hard and fast. We’ll look back at the trajectory of the disease, how the city and state responded and what lessons can be gleaned for other cities facing outbreaks.

Find the “Novel Coronavirus HealthMap” here. Find all of NEJM’s coronavirus coverage here

The editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine talks about what we’re learning about the coronavirus and how that might shape the month to come.

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting some communities much harder than others. We’ll take a look at the disproportionate toll it’s taking on African Americans.


Kat Stafford, national race and ethnicity reporter for The Associated Press. (@kat_stafford)

“The Good Place” creator Michael Schur joins us to talk about morals and being good during a global pandemic.


Michael Schur, creator of NBC’s “The Good Place,” a comedy about the afterlife and redemption. Co-creator of “Parks and Recreation.” Producer and writer for “The Office.” Author of “How To Be Good,” out in 2021. (@KenTremendous)