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CV-19 and Risk

By September 12, 2020Commentary

I do a lot of pretty much quick hit research summaries, to give people a flavor of what is being found on significant issues that help us understand the epidemic.  Every now and then an article comes along that relates to a topic I have been turning over in my mind.  One of those is how we have become such a risk-averse society, and at the same time are so bad at assessing relative risks.  That is partly responsible for the completely irrational responses from most governments to this epidemic.  We are obsessed with CV-19 risk and deaths and ignoring deaths resulting from the mitigation measures and the Great Terror we constantly browbeat the public with.  This article discusses that problem.  (Risk Article)

The authors focus on risk of death and is based on UK statistics.  The charts in the article show that the general relative risk of death at a particular age is about the same for CV-19 as for all other causes combined, with the exception of the very young, for whom it is much less risky.  Table 2 shows the almost non-existent risk of dying of CV-19 below age 45, and the still incredibly low risk up to age 65.  These are unadjusted rates; if you are healthy, they are even lower.  Despite this extremely low risk for most people, polls suggest a belief that the rates of death are far higher.  As the authors suggest, we need to do a much better job of communicating actual risk to the population.  Of course, that is harder to do when the media and some politicians are more interested in keeping people frightened.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Peter Johan van der Lugt says:

    Great perspective on behaviorial health economics, which demonstrates that decisions people assess and actions they take as a result or more emotion-based that critical-thinking

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