Fear and the coronavirus

Listen 48:57
People wear face masks as they visit a shopping district in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. People wear face masks as they walk through a shopping mall in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

People wear face masks as they visit a shopping district in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. People wear face masks as they walk through a shopping mall in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Guests: Stephen Alles, Sudeep Bhatia, David Ropeik

News about the coronavirus is everywhere as are images of surgical-masked citizens in China, full body-suited health care workers, and quarantined cruise ships, all while the death toll and infectious rate continues to rise. Public health experts and governments are concerned about the highly infectious and deadly new virus, but should the American public be worried yet? This hour, we start off discussing the state of coronavirus containment and what Philadelphia’s officials are keeping an eye on with STEPHEN ALLES, director of disease control at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Then we’ll examine our ability to perceive risk and why we get it wrong so often. University of Pennsylvania psychology professor SUDEEP BHATIA and risk communication consultant DAVID ROPEIK, explain our irrational brain, how emotions cloud our thinking and how it can all lead to bad decisions.

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