• Ozzie Paez

Shortcomings in our response to Corona

We have a saying in engineering: In God we trust, all else we measure. It’s a reflection that measures (data) are indispensable to effectively design, run, manage, and control systems. Informed decision-making is similarly a process of capturing and analyzing data to guide the decisions we make. In this context, we decide based on the implications we extract from the data. It’s simple, yet historically very difficult to do consistently well. Personalities, biases, and other cognitive potholes constantly get in the way.

We see these shortcomings in the official and social responses to Coronavirus. The data shows that it is highly contagious and very dangerous to the old and feeble, yet less deadly than the current flu to younger, healthy people. This flu effect is known. For example, the infamous Spanish Flu was deadly to healthy young adults, not the old who had survived previous influenza outbreaks.

So, given Corona’s profile and the fact that economic recession and unemployment are also killers: Does it make sense to deal with this bug through policies that will drive the world-economy to an also deadly economic recession? It’s a question worth asking at every Corona briefing, just to keep our perspectives and cognitive bugs in check.