Navigation for Sunday Morning

7:09am Michael Levitt: 'No evidence that Covid-19 is causing huge loss of life' 

Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, says there is no clear evidence that Covid-19 is causing massive loss of life, despite evidence to the contrary in places like Europe and New York City. In fact, Levitt, who is currently stuck in Israel, says it has not been a particularly bad year for flu deaths. And the people who are dying from coronavirus are those who are at risk of death anyway. Professor Levitt believes we're been 'primed for Covid-19 panic.' 

Professor Michael Levitt

Professor Michael Levitt Photo: Bengt Nyman

7:25am Professor Gary McLean: International Covid-19 update 

New Zealander Gary McLean is a professor in molecular immunology at London Metropolitan University who specialises in infectious diseases, immunology and antibody engineering. He joins the show to look at the big Covid-19 talking points.

Gary McLean

Gary McLean Photo: Supplied

7:32am The House

A weekly digest of the events in Parliament with Daniela Maoate-Cox and Phil Smith.

7:45am Calling Home: Michael Anderson in Guayaquil, Ecuador

The port city of Guayaquil in Ecuador is at the centre of Latin America's most aggressive outbreak of Covid-19. The city's hospitals and morgues are overrun, causing hundreds of bodies to be left on the streets. Southland man Michael Anderson moved to Ecuador with his German girlfriend Tanja to take up a teaching position, but currently find themselves on strict lockdown.

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson Photo: Supplied

8:10am Covid 19: How much lockdown exercise are Kiwis getting?

How much physical activity are  Kiwis actually doing during the Level 4 lock down period? It's a question Associate Professor Elaine Hargreaves and her team from the University of Otago are asking in their Covid-19 lockdown survey. Prof. Hargreaves joins the show to discuss the survey and the motivation for Kiwis to exercise during the lockdown period. 

No caption

Photo: Freepix

8:25am Covid-19: Foreigners being targeted as threats in China 

Video emerged this week of a foreigner being held down with a pole by three officials in Beijing for not wearing a mask in public. Authorities have been dishing out embarrassing public punishments to those not wearing masks as part of a concentrated push to stop a second spread of Covid-19, but some foreigners feel they are being unfairly targeted. Nathan van der Klippe is The Globe and Mail's Beijing correspondent. 

Shop staff uses a board to hand mantous, Chinese steamed bun, to customer in Beijing on February 11, 2020.

Photo: AFP

8:35am Covid-19: Kiwis concerned about frontline staff 

Research New Zealand continues to take the pulse of the nation through the lockdown period, with the latest results showing that New Zealanders are worried about whether there is a sufficient supply of appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for staff working on the frontline during the lockdown. Emanuel Kalafatelis joins the show to explain. 

Health workers take part in ICU training for Covid-19 at Hutt Hospital.

Health workers take part in ICU training for Covid-19 at Hutt Hospital. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

8:44am Linda Clark and Michael Barnett on the impact of Covid-19 in NZ 

The nation is on tenterhooks at the prospect of moving out of alert level 4 after nearly a month of the lockdown period.  Panellists Linda Clark and Michael Barnett join the show to discuss the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having in this country. 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield during a media conference at Parliament on April 16, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield during a media conference at Parliament on April 16, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Pool / Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

9:06am Mediawatch

Mediawatch looks at how the media made the case for government intervention this week to save parts of the industry which could go under without it - and what could replace the advertising income that’s funded important journalism for so long. Produced and presented by Colin Peacock and Hayden Donnell

Media executives address the Epidemic Response Committee online on April 15 2020.

Media executives address the Epidemic Response Committee online on April 15 2020. Photo: screenshot

9:30am 3MM: Wayne Brown on NZ's impending economic shift

Three Minutes Max, New Zealand commentators with succinct opinions. Former Northland mayor Wayne Brown shares his thoughts on how Covid-19 challenges Auckland's place in the New Zealand economy.

Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown Photo: Supplied

9:37am Professor Michael Baker answers your Covid-19 questions

Public health expert Michael Baker from the University of Otago, Wellington, is with us again on Sunday Morning to discuss the latest in the battle against Covid-19 and answer your questions and ours as New Zealand enters the fourth week of the month-long lockdown period. Text your questions to 2101 or email

Professor Michael Baker, a public health medicine specialist at the University of Otago

Photo: University of Otago

10:07am Neil Gaiman happily stuck in New Zealand due to Covid-19

British writer Neil Gaiman has been coming to New Zealand for writing appearances for years now, but he never envisaged he'd be locked down in Havelock North for the better part of a month along with his wife, musician Amanda Palmer and their four-year-old son, Ash. The American Gods author joins the show to  discuss his unexpected adventure in this country. 

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Photo: Neil Gaiman / Instagram

10:41am What does the superhero craze say about our own times?

Superman and his descendents launched a fascination with technological superism that continues today. Iwan Rhys Morus is professor of history at Aberystwyth University in Wales. He says much of that fascination is about the desire of being able to control everything, but the current Covid-19 crisis shows that we shouldn't be putting our faith in a superhero solution. In essence, superheros need to be kept in their place.  

Professor Iwan Morus from Aberystwyth University.

Professor Iwan Morus from Aberystwyth University. Photo: Supplied


11:05am Alain de Botton: Finding calm through pessimism

London-based philosopher and author Alain de Botton says that while it is human nature to worry, the truth is that homosapiens are a very resilient species that have been through extraordinary cycles of suffering and joy. He says one of the fastest roots to calm is through a degree of pessimism.

Alain De Botton

Alain De Botton Photo: Supplied

11:42am Trump wants America open for business by May 30 

Lockdown American style, and it's been a couple of weeks since we caught up with our U.S. correspondent, the bureau chief for public radio and television in Ohio, the award-winning Karen Kasler, who joins us with all the latest. 

US President Donald Trump flanked by US Vice President Mike Pence, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Photo: AFP

11:50am Allyson Gofton: The Baker's Companion

Beloved food writer Allyson Gofton and her family are hunkered down in the town of Cambridge, in a property her teenage son has jokingly dubbed the 'Drug Baron's Mansion'. Prior to the lockdown they were planning an eclectic Cuban country style makeover for the property, but the project has been put on hold, and - like many New Zealanders - Allyson has been baking a lot. She shares with us two recipes from her "latest and probably last book" - The Baker's Companion. Here is the recipes for Lemon-Spiced Boston Bun and One-Rise Seed Bread.

Allyson Gofton

Allyson Gofton Photo: supplied