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Reblogged:Pandemic: Panic and Evasion Aren't Working

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Image by Mita Park, via Unsplash, license.
Last week, I blogged an article about the high prevalence of improper risk assessment regarding the pandemic among the public. The author of that report, Sonal Desai, has coauthored a column in USA Today aptly titled, "Most Americans Are Misinformed on COVID-19. That Makes Them Too Cautious or Too Careless."

For this reason, I hope the piece is widely-read.

After citing the dire economic consequences of millions of people holing up as if their own shadows could kill them, and pointing to video of unmasked people at bars and parties, Desai and Jonathan Rothwell give a good example of how effective prudent containment measures can be, even while people go about their daily activities:
Notably, evidence from Missouri found that two infected hairdressers did not transmit the virus to any of their clients, despite 139 indoor visits in close proximity. The two hairdressers and their customers were all wearing masks.
I completely agree with the authors on the following:
If not now, then soon, we may need to adapt to a longer-term relationship with SARS-CoV2, in which we recognize and accept the differential risks it brings, mitigate them prudently, without ending our social relationships in the physical world. In any case, having a well-informed citizenry will be an essential step forward.
Better late than never -- which is conceivably when a vaccine arrives.

If there is a silver lining to this dark moment in our history, may it be that we finally see that neither panic nor evasion is the proper way to react to a crisis, and that the right answer is always thoughtful action, in which we consider all relevant information before taking action, actively assess what we learn, and adjust our actions when doing so is warranted.

-- CAV

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