Omicron climbs, Manchin declines: 6 podcasts about this week’s biggest stories

News December 23, 2021

Unsurprisingly, many of this week’s biggest news stories are about the new surge in the Omicron variant as people travel home for the holidays. Professional sports are also seeing COVID ravage starting lines, and the NFL, NBA, and NHL all have different plans on how to handle it. The other news story that’s been dominating U.S. headlines is West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin killing the Build Back Better plan. Can BBB be restored, or is it dead in the water?

But, we also have some slightly more merry and bright episodes to share, like how social media is helping destigmatize mental illness and stories of Christmas traditions from around the world. Check out all of these podcasts talking about this week’s biggest headlines.

The Daily podcast art

The Daily

Listen to ‘A Covid Testing Crisis, Again’

As the Omicron variant surges, testing sites that weren’t closed or converted into vaccination sites are absolutely swamped. Abbott Laboratories, a major test manufacturer, wound up destroying millions of tests only for a new less-vaccine susceptible variant to sweep across the nation. This episode of “The Daily” is looking at why we didn’t predict the lack of supply despite seeing a similar surge last December.

5 Things

Listen to ‘To gather or not to gather amid omicron’

That is the question. There’s still time to optimize yours and your family’s safety from COVID this Christmas, and “5 Things” is helping answer the daunting question of whether or not to cancel the huge family gathering. Also, education reporter Erin Richards updates us on the latest shifts to virtual learning, the NHL and NBA are taking different approaches to the mass COVID outbreaks in the leagues, we get a history lesson on mistletoe, and SpaceX sends a rocket to act as somewhat of a futuristic Kris Kringle to deliver Christmas dinner and gifts to the International Space Station.

Stories of our times

Listen to ‘Christmas dispatches from around the world’

In a special episode of “Stories of our times,” Times and Sunday Times correspondents from around the globe share their heartwarming Christmas postcards. They recap the most groundbreaking news stories of 2021, from Angela Merkel stepping down as the longest serving post-war Chancellor, the odd manufactured refugee crisis in a Belarus forest, to the Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal (yikes, it’s been a long year). Hear Christmas traditions and stories from where these reporters are stationed, like the Krampus stories that exist in the Central and Eastern Alpine regions, and the stories of the Christian Iraqis who have always found a way to celebrate.

TIME’s The Brief

Listen to ‘The NHL Reportedly Will Not Send Players to Beijing Olympics Over Delays to Season… and More Stories’

As the NHL grapples with COVID protocols and shut downs, “TIME’s The Brief” has heard that the league will not send players to the 2022 Beijing Olympics because of it. Other stories in this episode include rethinking what breakthrough Covid infections mean, Biden’s sudden pivot to at-home testing, and an Afghanistan watchdog who says secrecy during the war caused enormous problems in ending it.

The Takeaway

Listen to ‘A Closer Look at Joe Manchin 2021-12-21’

PRX and WNYC’s “The Takeaway” features critical conversations around world, national, and regional news. This week, Joe Manchin killed the Democrats’ Build Back Better plan after whittling it down from $6 billion to $2 billion. Ken Ward Jr., co-founder of Mountain State Spotlight and local reporting fellow with ProPublica, joined Evan Osnos, author, staff writer for The New Yorker and CNN contributor, to discuss the political, social, and local motivations behind Manchin’s decision.

Also in this episode, military documents show U.S. drone airstrikes led to thousands of civilian deaths, and we learn why space is more important to us now than ever. There’s also a fun report asking why Hollywood is obsessed with nuns, and migrant workers at the Word Fair in Dubai claim they were tricked by government leaders and are receiving unlivable wages and having their passports confiscated.

Connect The Dots

Listen to ‘Using social media to help destigmatize conversations around mental health’

On this week’s “Connect the Dots” episode, host Lynda Lopez spoke with Filipina-American social media influencer Kim Saira on how Instagram, an app that has been attributed to rising stress in teens and young adults, can be a tool for self-care and preserving mental health for communities of color. Also, licensed therapist and founder of Cheat Code, a service that provides concierge mental wellness coaching to professional athletes, Dr. Armando “Mondo” González, explains the pandemic’s impact on emotional wellbeing across the country, and he gives tips on how to practice good self-care ourselves.

New shows we love...

Join Our Newsletter

The best podcasts to listen to next, delivered right to your inbox every week.

By clicking Submit, you acknowledge you have read and agree to our Website and Digital Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.