Communicating Through a Pandemic

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May 08 2020 15 mins   4

Charles Duhigg, one of our favorite authors on habits, wrote an article for The New Yorker called, “Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead, New York’s Did Not.” The article explores how the two cities differed in their response and how the results were tragically different. While Dughigg covers a lot of ground, and the article is fascinating, we want to explore a couple of key concepts out if it as it relates to communication.

In the article, there is a reference to the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) field manual on managing a crisis. In it, a whole chapter is dedicated to communication and we thought the behavioral implications were worth discussing.


Duhigg, C., “Seattle’s Leaders Let Scientists Take the Lead. New York’s Did Not,” New Yorker, May 4, 2020.

The CDC Field Epidemiology Manual

Bicchieri, C., & Dimant, E., “Nudging with care: the risks and benefits of social information,” Public Choice (2019).

Kassim, S., The “Messenger Effect” in Persuasion, DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199778188.003.0053