May 11, 2023

Did We Predict the Pandemic?

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

Just two months before Covid-19 broke out, we made a fictional pandemic episode that was like “Contagion” but with citations. And we played it for Dr. Anthony Fauci. Today, we’re looking back at that episode and asking — how much of the pandemic did we predict? 

This episode has some unbleeped curse words. 

Find our transcript here:

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Chapter One: Why we’re sharing this episode

(03:42) Chapter Two: Meet Dr. Anthony Fauci

(07:10) Chapter Three: The fictional pandemic begins

(26:50) Chapter Four: Fauci’s thoughts on our fake pandemic

(33:53) Chapter Five: Wendy and Blythe’s reaction

The original pandemic episode was produced by Kaitlyn Sawrey, with help from Wendy Zukerman, Michelle Dang, Lexi Krupp, Rose Rimler and Meryl Horn. It was edited by Caitlin Kenney and Blythe Terrell. Extra writing help from Kevin Christopher Snipes. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord and Marcus Thorne Bagala. This new update was produced by Rose Rimler and fact checked by Erika Akiko Howard, and mixed by Bobby lord.

Thank you to all the scientists and researchers we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. Eric Toner, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Beth Maldin Morgenthau, Dr. Melvin Sanicas, Dr. Mandy Izzo, Dr. Kurt Frey, Professor Michael Osterholm, Dr. Patrick Saunders Hastings, Rosemary Gibson, Thomas Bollyky, Dr. Ashleigh Tuite, Professor Stephen Morse, Dr. Lalitha Sundaram, Professor David N. Fisman, Lynette Brammer, the late Dr. Mohamed Naguib, Dr. Yeulong Shu, Dr. Dan Jernigan, Dr. Kirsty Short, and special thanks to Bess Davenport at CDC. 

Thanks to our actors, Annabelle Fox as Mindy, as well as the late William Dufris, Alice Kors, Dani Cervone, Robin Miles, Jordan Cobb, Jonathan Woodward, Ian Lowe and Casey Wortmann. Directed by William Dufris with help from Wendy Zukerman, Kaitlyn Sawrey and Fred Greenhalgh. Recording by Fred Greenhalgh and Peter Leonard. Also thank you to all the Gimlet people who performed various drafts during edits, including Chad Chenail, Gabe Lozada, Jasmine Romero and MR Daniel. And a huge thank you to Frank Lopez, Jorge Just, Joel Werner, R.E. Natowicz, Stevie Lane, Phoebe Flanigan, Chris Giliberti, Justin McGolrick, Katie Pastore, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. 

Gimlet’s managing director is Nicole Beemsterboer. Science Vs is a Spotify Original Podcast and a Gimlet production. Follow Science vs on Spotify. Tap the bell to receive new episode notifications.