homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

Thinking About Pandemic Risk: “All Our Behavior Adds Up”

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 02, 2020

This short article by Dr. Aaron Carroll about Covid-19 and risk is excellent. I want to quote the entire thing here, punctuated only by increasingly emphatic YESes and THISes, but I will refrain. Somewhat.

Too many view protective measures as all or nothing: Either we do everything, or we might as well do none. That’s wrong. Instead, we need to see that all our behavior adds up.

Each decision we make to reduce risk helps. Each time we wear a mask, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each time we socialize outside instead of inside, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each time we stay six feet away instead of sitting closer together, we’re throwing some safety on the pile. Each time we wash our hands, eat apart and don’t spend time in large gatherings of people, we’re adding to the pile.

If the pile gets big enough, we as a society can keep this thing in check.

The article was published before today’s news that three PSG players — Neymar, Angel Di Maria, and Leandro Paredes — have tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from a vacation on Ibiza, but this could have easily been written in response:

To keep the pile big enough, though, we need to be willing to trade some activities for others. If people want to play on a sports team, for instance, they should consider giving something up to do so. Increasing their risk by participating in a group activity should prompt them to reduce their risk the rest of the time.

But we aren’t very good at discussing trade-offs. We want it all. We want to eat in restaurants, crowd into houses, go to work and celebrate occasions en masse.

We could choose to engage in just some of those things. We could decide to get a massage or get our nails done or have a haircut — instead of demanding that all of these and more be available to us simultaneously.

And this is just generally true:

If Americans were willing to invest in bigger-picture solutions, we could all have nicer things.

And this. This. THIS!! (sorry) THISSSSS!!!!:::

Instead of asking why we can’t do certain activities, we might consider what we’re willing to give up to do them more safely. Even better, we might even consider what we’re willing to give up so others can do them, too.

Go on, read the whole thing.