Today, Explained

News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Today, Explained is your all killer, no filler, Monday to Friday news explainer co-hosted by Sean Rameswaram and Noel King. Every episode features the finest reporters from the Vox Media Podcast Network and beyond.

Daily News
The Reopening States of America
Dr. Richard Besser, former head of the Centers for Disease Control, explains how states can reopen without putting lives in danger. Transcript at
19 min
Why Sweden stayed open
The Kingdom of Sweden watched the world lock down and decided to do the opposite. Swedish journalist Nathalie Rothschild explains. Transcript at
18 min
How to be happy
The most popular course in Yale's 300-year history is all about achieving happiness. The pandemic has made it more relevant than ever.
22 min
Tara Reade alleges, Joe Biden denies
Vox's Laura McGann explains the sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden, and the implications for his campaign. Transcript at
16 min
The Island of Explained
Come with us to the magical Island of Explained, where we’ll climb trees and venture into caves to answer kids’ biggest coronavirus questions. Go to to find supplemental activities, from testing how far snot travels to coloring in a map of the Island of Explained. Transcript at
23 min
The Invisible Man
Vox's Alex Ward explains what's going on with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
17 min
Overflowing farms, desperate food banks
American farmers are destroying their crops while demand is mounting at food banks. Politico food and agriculture reporter Helena Bottemiller Evich explains.
24 min
Inside the world's biggest lockdown
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered 1.4 billion Indians to stay home. The world had never seen anything like it.
22 min
Oil is broke. Green New Deal with it?
Oil just went negative for the first time in history. Vox's David Roberts says that creates an opportunity to make more history.
21 min
Georgia on my mind
As the state reopens, Vox's Jillian Weinberger zooms to rural Georgia to hear how a Covid-19 outbreak spiraled out of control.
16 min
Vox’s science editor, Eliza Barclay, arms you with the facts you need to fight your uncle’s favorite coronavirus conspiracy theories.
22 min
This one's for Earth
Cryptic treehunters. Unknown apples. Flowers fighting back. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Vox’s Umair Irfan and Brian Resnick explain what we learned about the planet in the last year.
19 min
One day, three healthcare workers
A nurse, a paramedic, and a physician’s assistant record themselves throughout the course of a day in the fight against Covid-19.
21 min
The epicenter of the epicenter
Covid-19's victims, and the people they leave behind.
23 min
Long shot
It could be a year or more before the vaccine is ready, but there’s a radical plan to speed up the process.
25 min
Zeke Emanuel’s exit strategy
President Trump wants to reopen the country yesterday. Bioethicist Zeke Emanuel, who served as a health policy advisor to former President Obama, offers a safe path.
25 min
Death Cab for The Postal Service?
The United States Postal Service is on the brink of collapse. Vox's Matthew Yglesias explains how and why the country should save it.
25 min
All praise, no pay
Essential workers in the food, transportation, and retail industries are being called American heroes. They want to be paid as such.
25 min
Elizabeth Warren has a plan for this, too
Friend of the show Ezra Klein speaks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren about several plans she has proposed to combat this pandemic.
51 min
The loneliness pandemic
Coronavirus has led to another pandemic: social isolation. Vox’s Ezra Klein says this sickness has a cure.
19 min
Six feet away from God
While a few religious leaders flout shelter in place ordinances, Easter, Passover, and Ramadan are inspiring most to get creative with worship.
24 min
Vote and die
Wisconsinites had to choose between catching Covid-19 and voting on Tuesday. Is the rest of the country next?
24 min
"The Great Equalizer"
Madonna was wrong. Covid-19 isn't an equalizer. It's coming for America's most vulnerable populations.
22 min
The immunity test
A vaccine will take a while, but Vox's Umair Irfan says the global effort to test for immunity and treat Covid-19 is well underway.
19 min
Mask on? Mask off?
In an about-face, the Centers for Disease Control would now like you to cover your mouth and nose when you go outside.
25 min
6.6 million more unemployed
Last week's unemployment numbers shattered all records. This week, they doubled. Vox's Matthew Yglesias, host of The Weeds podcast, proposes a way out of this mess.
26 min
Lockdown while locked up
Arthur Longworth calls Sean from Washington State Reformatory to explain what it's like to serve a life sentence at a prison where the coronavirus is spreading.
25 min
The trouble with Trump’s daily briefings
Part rally, part media-bashing, part critical updates on the coronavirus crisis, President Trump's daily press briefings are muddying the message.
25 min
How Covid-19 attacks your body
In this episode of Vox's Reset podcast Ed Yong from The Atlantic explains how a little spiky ball called SARS-CoV2 brought the world to its knees.
23 min
Your coronavirus questions, answered (Part II)
On today's show, more listener questions: Why isn't everyone social distancing? Will I be immune after I get it? When will this end? My anxiety is spiking!
23 min
The emergency room emergency
The Atlantic's James Hamblin explains why America has a critical shortage of medical supplies. New York City ER doctor Calvin Sun says, “It’s like a lottery that we don’t want to play, but we’re forced to play.”
25 min
The two trillion dollar question
Congress has settled on an historic stimulus package, but Ezra Klein is worried it might not be enough.
24 min
Asia's second wave
Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore managed to contain Covid-19, but now things look less promising.
21 min
Giving birth in a pandemic
Vox's Julia Belluz went from covering the global coronavirus pandemic to giving birth in the middle of it.
23 min
Your coronavirus questions, answered
A team of experts answer listener questions: Why is there no TP? Will we run out of food? Can I get the virus from sex? Should I finally write my will? How can I help?
22 min
Six feet away
Vox’s Brian Resnick (safely) meets Sean in a Washington, D.C. park to deliver the Five Commandments of social distancing. Start your #SixFeetAwaySong journey at
19 min
TFW your dad gives you Covid-19
Sean speaks to a Brooklyn family that has Covid-19, and Vox’s Dylan Scott explains how the United States is still trying to get its act together on testing. Subscribe to the Voxcare newsletter here:
27 min
Can President Trump fix this?
After dismissing coronavirus concerns for months, President Donald is pivoting to serious action to slow the crisis in the United States.
22 min
School's out for Covid
The country’s largest school district told a million kids to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s creating chaos for teachers, students, and parents.
16 min
Living in lockdown
Italy has quarantined the whole country in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains why the US might look like Italy soon.
17 min
How to slow down coronavirus
President Trump has banned most Europeans from traveling to the US. Vox’s Jen Kirby explains why that won’t stop the novel coronavirus from spreading, and Eliza Barclay tells us what we can do to slow the spread.
18 min
Old Country for Old Men
After last night, Joe Biden is one step closer to the nomination, but no matter who wins, the next president will be over 70. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains why that could be a problem.
22 min
Coronavirus hits the markets
The stock market’s going haywire. Major companies are telling their employees to stay home. Austin has canceled SXSW. Vox’s Matthew Yglesias says governments across the world have to act fast to save the global economy.
17 min
James Carville thinks Trump will lose
The veteran political strategist argues that Democrats are well-positioned to win back not only the White House, but the Senate, too.
19 min
So you think you have Covid-19
Thus far, the United States hasn't been doing the best job of testing for the novel coronavirus. ProPublica's Caroline Chen explains why.
20 min
Roe v. Wade v. Roberts
There's a new fight over abortion at the Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts is in the swing position.
17 min
Thanks, Obama
Vox's Andrew Prokop runs through Super Tuesday results, before Laura McGann explains Vice President Biden's "Joementum."
21 min
Covid-19, explained by Carl (who has it)
Carl Goldman was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and now he has Covid-19. He speaks to Sean Rameswaram from a CDC quarantine in Omaha, Nebraska.
23 min
Tuesday, Explained
Vox's Andrew Prokop explains what makes this Tuesday so super and performs some basic arithmetic to suggest how Democrats could end up with a contested convention.
21 min
Make America Doubt Again
McKay Coppins built a fake Facebook profile to fully experience President Trump's 2020 digital strategy. It didn't take long for him to start doubting reality.
24 min
The last stronghold in Syria
Idlib province in northwestern Syria is now the last stronghold of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad and one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises.
18 min
Covid-19 may be on the brink of becoming a pandemic. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains what that p-word means and Brian Resnick breaks down what an outbreak response might look like in the United States.
26 min
Putin his thumb on the scale
Russian interference in U.S. elections could go from Vlad to worse as President Trump sidelines U.S. intelligence agencies.
18 min
Weekend at Bernie’s
Bernie Sanders took Nevada with a landslide coalition so diverse it has left Joe Biden feeling nervous heading into South Carolina.
21 min
The sixth sense (the real one)
A study at the National Institutes of Health offers a window into some of science’s biggest mysteries, from the origins of pain to how consciousness works.
22 min
Ok, Bloomberg
Enter the Bloomberg! Exit the Bloomberg?
18 min
Where Medicare-for-all is real
The Democratic presidential candidates keep having the same argument over Medicare-for-all at the televised debates. To spice up the conversation, Vox’s Dylan Scott takes Sean on a journey to Taiwan to explore how the idea works in practice.
18 min
The floating petri dish
One coronavirus. Two cruise ships. Lots of mistakes.
21 min
Love Me Tinder
A new investigation reveals what you may have suspected: dating apps can be very dangerous. But there are safer ways to look for love online.
23 min
Between a Stone and a hard place
In this, the 500th episode of your favorite daily news podcast, Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains why the sentencing of Roger Stone has thrown the United States Department of Justice into disarray.
26 min
Bernie, bro.
New Hampshire felt the Bern.
20 min
Old Hampshire vs. New Hampshire
House parties are key to picking a president in New Hampshire, but they’re quickly being replaced by impersonal rallies. New Hampshire Public Radio reporter Lauren Chooljian attends both to determine what’s being lost.
18 min
President Trump's "Africa ban"
Vox's Nicole Narea explains how new immigration restrictions that will hit a quarter of Africa's population might be President Trump's version of diplomacy.
17 min
Why the wrong movies win Oscars
Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson would like to blame the Academy.
23 min
How will coronavirus end?
In 2015, Dr. Vineet Menachery said a SARS-like virus could spread to humans more easily than previously believed. Now he explains what we can do to stop it.
17 min
The Senate has acquitted President Trump. Vox’s Ezra Klein argues it’s time to change the Constitution.
18 min
Iowa caucuses? More like caucus chaos. Or a raucous caucus. Or an Iowasca trip. Somebody's got some explaining to do.
19 min
Iowa gets to take the first swing at nominating the Democratic presidential candidate today. But why?
19 min
The invisible border
After nearly four years of acrimony, Britain finally Brexits tonight. But it risks plunging Northern Ireland back into a living nightmare.
26 min
Let’s talk about how to talk about Kobe
Kobe Bryant’s death stunned the world. Then people started arguing.
19 min
From Nobel Peace Prize to denying genocide
The International Court of Justice is ordering Myanmar to protect the Rohingya from genocide, but no one knows if Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi will heed the call.
29 min
The Bolton's back in town
Vox's Andrew Prokop explains why John Bolton’s leaked manuscript has upended the GOP’s hopes to wrap up the impeachment trial quickly without calling witnesses.
25 min
Shaken like a polarized picture
The political polarization of America didn’t start with Donald Trump and it won’t end in 2020 either. Ezra Klein explains "Why We're Polarized."
23 min
The Crown Prince and the Amazon King
Did Mohammed Bin Salman hack Jeff Bezos? Recode’s Peter Kafka returns with an update and Kara Swisher explains Saudi Arabia's impunity in the tech world.
21 min
A SARS-like virus has killed at least 17 people, quarantined millions in China, and made its way to the United States. Vox’s Julia Belluz explains what's known and what's next.
21 min
A George Washington Bridge too far
The Supreme Court is trying to settle the fight over the biggest traffic jam in the history of American politics once and for all. WNYC's Matt Katz, author of "American Governor: Chris Christie's Bridge to Redemption," explains.
22 min
The Senate trial begins
Vox's Andrew Prokop explains everything you need to know as President Trump's Senate impeachment trial gets underway.
20 min
The 100 year fight for equal rights
Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment this week. Now, Congress is the only thing standing between the 28th amendment and the Constitution of the United States.
19 min
Ukraine International Flight 752
Canada now has the unfortunate job of dealing with the collateral damage from the conflict between Iran and the United States.
23 min
Booker blames the rules
Senator Cory Booker tells Sean Rameswaram why he never stood a chance and Vox's Ella Nilsen explains why Senators Warren and Sanders are fighting.
21 min
Elizabeth Warren needs a poster boy
Elizabeth Warren’s best bet to fight the opioid epidemic might be stealing a page from the battle against AIDS. Vox’s Jillian Weinberger explains how for The Impact.
29 min
One billion animals dead
Australia is suffering unprecedented damage from months of bush fires, but the country remains divided on the politics of climate change.
19 min
Meghan Markle and her husband have announced their own personal Brexit.
22 min
The (first) trial of Harvey Weinstein
Irin Carmon from New York magazine explains how #MeToo is on trial alongside Harvey Weinstein.
22 min
What about Iraq?
Iran fired back. The United States issued a statement. Iraq wishes its allies would fight somewhere else.
18 min
The view from Iran
Iran analyst Dina Esfandiary explains why the killing of Qassem Soleimani was “the greatest gift the Trump administration could have given the Iranian government.” And an Iranian-American family disagrees on the meaning of Soleimani’s death.
21 min
War with Iran?
The United States killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week. Vox's Alex Ward explains what might happen next.
22 min
Should we burn our recycling?
The vast majority of our plastic isn’t being recycled. It might be time to consider lighting it on fire.
27 min
The other TV president
Before stumbling into the biggest American political scandal in a generation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was best known for playing the president on TV.
21 min
Trump of the Year
On the cusp of a big election year, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias reviews President Trump’s accomplishments thus far.
21 min
Song of the Year
“Old Town Road” is unlike anything that’s ever happened in American popular music.
23 min
Person of the Year
Time named Greta Thunberg its ‘Person of the Year.’ David Wallace-Wells from New York Magazine explains why.
16 min
The Queen of Christmas
A quarter-century after its release, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has claimed the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Call it a "Christmas Mariahcle."
22 min
Debate 6: Enter the Wine Cave
The sixth and final Democratic debate of the year was less diverse, more substantive, and also featured a fight about a wine cave. Vox's Emily Stewart explains.
23 min
Aging in America
By 2035, there will be more elderly people than children in America. The country isn’t ready.
20 min
Impeachment Day
The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump today. Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains what comes next.
17 min
Trump v. Taxes
The Supreme Court will decide whether President Trump has to turn over his tax returns, but WNYC's Andrea Bernstein says the Court is really deciding whether Trump can literally get away with murder.
16 min
Big Bezos is watching you
In under 20 years, Amazon grew from an online bookstore to the eyes and ears in our homes. OneZero's Will Oremus says we should be concerned about what comes next.
25 min
Space Farce
The Democrats gave President Trump his Space Force this week. But what is it?
18 min
India's Muslim ban
16 min