The cancellation of the outbreak indicates that evidence-based decisions during an outbreak are rare

Tech giants, governments and individuals are making decisions that they hope will reduce the risk of spreading the new coronavirus – but not all of these tough calls are based entirely on the latest health information,media The Verge reported. The factors that led to the two-week travel restrictions, the hoarding of masks or the cancellation of mobile world congresses are much more complex and based on what scientists don’t know they know.

The cancellation of the outbreak indicates that evidence-based decisions during an outbreak are rare

The response to public health problems is not just caused by public health evidence or the advice of public health experts. “It also depends on what other social and cultural influences,” said Megan Jehn, who studies global health at Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “It depends on the framework or structure of the different choices. Most importantly, people don’t make decisions based on empirical data. “

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. But at this point, the virus does not appear to be widespread in any country except China (the vast majority of cases). The World Health Organization does not recommend that any group cancel meetings or meetings outside China. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continued to reiterate at a news conference that people are not advised to wear masks. But masks have also been sold out across the United States.

People make choices during an outbreak based on what they consider to be a risk of the disease. The problem is that there is often a significant difference between the way risks are displayed and the actual risks they face. The perceived risk is affected by a number of factors, including the size of the threat, the type of information collected against the threat, and the type of action others take.

The threat posed by the new coronavirus is still unknown, which makes it look more frightening than the actual situation. “This unknown risk makes it look more risky,” said Gretchen Chapman, a professor of social and decision-making science at Carnegie Mellon University. Imagine that the mortality rate for both diseases is 3%, but the mortality rate for one disease is ambiguous and may change, while the other is certain. This ambiguity seems even more frightening. “

David Abramson, an associate professor at New York University’s School of Global Public Health, says that information is now transmitted differently from the way the Internet was transmitted, and that people look for and believe information about disease differently. He says misleading, inflammatory or false information about the virus is easy to obtain, just like dozens of conspiracy theories that have sprung up on social media. It also changes the way people think about the risk strains of the new coronavirus.

However, one of the key messages, however, is what people see what their peers and people around them are doing, Abramson said. “It’s usually a predictor of what you’re going to do,” he says. If you walk down the street and half of them wear masks, you think, ‘Should I do the same thing?’ ‘”

When companies, organizations and governments weigh their responses to disease outbreaks, their perceptions of risk are also influenced by political and economic studies. The decision team considers the impact of the conduct, the responsibilities of the situation that occurs, and the possible impact on its reputation. They also took into account external pressures: for example, several high-profile companies, such as LG and Sony, pulled out of the Mobile World Congress before the event was officially cancelled.

Chapman says the relative contribution of these factors to the decision-making process depends on the specificcircumstances of each case, compared with the weight of public health recommendations. “Perhaps on average, it makes people more aggressive in taking action,” she says. “

Abramson said that if the Mobile World Congress goes ahead as planned, if precautions are taken, it will probably not put the health of the participants at greater risk – it will be held in Spain, where the outbreak is not serious. “They’re being cautious and they’re probably overreacting,” Abramson said. “

Over-reaction leads to decisions based on recognized public health practices. Isolating people from each other and eliminating mass gatherings can help prevent the spread of disease. “Depending on the extent of the spread of the disease, it can be easy to overapply these measures, ” Chapman said. “

If a group considers this harmful, it may take continuing action for other reasons that are inconsistent with public health recommendations, such as the continuing travel restrictions that the World Health Organization has been opposed to. “They may do this for other reasons, such as controlling panic, and may make it a more important goal to keep the coolofs of customers, participants, or citizens,” Jehn said. “

The gap between how people perceive the risk stoofory virus and the risktheys they actually face will remain there until scientists learn more about what the actual risks are and how they communicate better, she said. “And we still really don’t know how that’s going to happen.” “