Why We Underestimated COVID-19

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Manage episode 258002528 series 248
By WNYC Studios and The New Yorker, WNYC Studios, and The New Yorker. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Even as the scale of the coronavirus outbreak was becoming apparent, spring breakers flooded the beaches of Florida and New Yorkers continued to congregate in parks. Despite the warnings of politicians and health-care professionals, many people failed to treat the coronavirus pandemic as a serious threat. Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning expert on human behavior, told Maria Konnikova that the problem isn’t just that the threat posed by COVID-19 is hard to grasp, it’s that public officials haven’t done enough to explain the threat. “There should be clear guidelines and clear instructions. We all ought to know whether we should open our Amazon packages outside the door or bring them in,” Kahneman said. “It’s not a decision individuals should consider making on the basis of what they know, because they don’t know enough to make it.”

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