News Reports

Evaluating Risk Assessments on COVID-19

 

Martin Pergler summarizes the assessment of comparative risk levels from two recent press articles and compares them to simple-minded risk assessments to identify the value of the information. 

As we gingerly try to “unfreeze” economic and social activity after this first wave of COVID, there’s a lot of prognostication what formerly normal activities are more or less risky. Two recent U.S. press articles thoughtfully assess comparative risk levels, but also fall into several pretty typical risk assessment traps. What did they do well, what could they have done better? (This article focuses on methodological lessons learned and risk management best practice. Apologies; I have nothing to add as to how risky it truly is to have your hair cut next week!)

The New York Times surveyed several hundred epidemiologists when they expect to feel personally comfortable doing 20 activities. So e.g. only 3% expect to feel comfortable attending a sporting event, concert, or play this summer, 32% in 3-12 months, and 64% in more than a year.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Analysis of commentary
  • Assumptions about risk mitigation
  • Risk assessment

 

Read the full article, COVID risk by activity: how to (not) do risk assessment, on LinkedIn.