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Cass R. Sunstein

How to Nudge a Coronavirus Nonbeliever

Hectoring from afar won’t sway mask skeptics where Covid-19 is surging. Targeted appeals to group identity just might.



Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

A lot of Americans aren’t taking Covid-19 seriously. They aren’t wearing masks. They aren’t social distancing. They aren’t staying home.

That’s one reason that the number of cases is spiking in the South and West. The problem is especially serious in Florida, Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Tennessee and Texas, which are reporting the highest numbers of hospitalizations since the coronavirus pandemic started spreading across the U.S. in March.