Why we weren't ready for the coronavirus pandemic : Planet Money We've had plenty of warnings over the years that we weren't ready for a pandemic. Today on the show: the psychology and economics of why.
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Why We Didn't Prepare For The Pandemic

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Why We Didn't Prepare For The Pandemic

Why We Didn't Prepare For The Pandemic

Why We Didn't Prepare For The Pandemic

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/841988400/842002274" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
A man wearing a mask pedals his bike in the Corona neighborhood of Queens on April 14, 2020 in New York City. - New York will start making tens of thousands of coronavirus test kits a week, its mayor announced Tuesday, as the city looks to boost testing capacity with a view to ending its shutdown. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Again and again, the world was warned that it was not ready for a pandemic. By the World Health Organization and the World Bank in a huge study last year. By numerous research scholars and long magazine articles. Even by Bill Gates in a TED Talk in 2015. And yet we were still unprepared for COVID-19.

Today on the show, Tim Harford, economist and host of the Cautionary Tales podcast, joins Cardiff and Stacey to help explain why we fail to prepare for disasters. Why we didn't have enough protective equipment. Why we were slow to produce enough tests for the virus. Why we took too long to implement social distancing. The reasons we don't seem to learn from our mistakes are behavioral and economic. They're also highly rational.

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