The initial coronavirus outbreaks on the East and West Coasts emerged at roughly the same time. But the danger was communicated very differently. The CDC’s Field Epidemiology Manual lays out exactly how to communicate the facts of the health emergency to the public. Crucially, it is advised that a lead spokesperson is designated, and that that spokesperson must be a scientist. While some local regions took this advice, other regions chose to place a politician in that role. As we have witnessed, that choice has led to disaster at both the regional and national level.