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Episode 5: Stretched




When the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States, it landed here, in the Pacific Northwest. Transmission is a podcast about life at the heart of an epidemic. 

Today's episode: Stretched … we consider what happens when our health care system is pushed to the limits. 

Hospitals and health workers have been bracing for a key moment in the pandemic, when the number of very sick patients outstrips our resources to treat them. We talk with Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle about new modelingthat shows just how soon that moment could come. 

Then we get an update from local hospitals on how they’re bracing for the surge. 

We visit a repurposed mammogram van in Seattle administering coronavirus tests to vulnerable populations, and consider just how many infected people we might be missing. 

And we check in with a woman whose “elective procedure” was postponed in order to free up hospital resources in advance of the surge in COVID-19 patients. Her operation? Surgery to make sure her cervical cancer is completely removed.

We want to hear from you. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your life? Let us know by recording yourself on a voice memo app on your phone, and emailing it to us at 

And please consider giving Transmission a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. 

Listen on AppleSpotifyGoogleStitcherand NPR One.

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Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.