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Embracing the Uncertainties

Statistics Vs The Truth

In statistical science, risk is an important uncertainty, but a comparing of risks sometimes does not take into account certain human factors, leading to misinformation or even disinformation. This is due to the statistical models being oversimplifications of the real world.

Statistical data is a ‘Map’, not the actual territory.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Embracing the Uncertainties

Embracing the Uncertainties

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/science/coronavirus-uncertainty-scientific-trust.html

nytimes.com

4

Key Ideas

An Uncertain World

The ongoing epidemic, due to its unknown nature, has provided us with a lot of uncertainties related to the characteristics, severity, mortality rate, infectious rate and spread of the disease. These uncertainties make it all the more deadly.

Conflicting guidelines (like on the use of masks) and ad hoc statements have made many people skeptical of the experts, in this post-truth society.


Kinds of Uncertainty

  • Epistemic Uncertainty: Uncertain information and data about the past or present, which can be unraveled by using measuring tools.
  • Aleatory Uncertainty: The unknown things about the future related to randomness, luck, chance or indeterminacy.
  • Deep Uncertainty: Also called radical uncertainty, it is a state in which there are so many unknown things that the future looks like an abyss.

Ambiguity Aversion

Uncertainty triggers an ambiguity aversion (a preference for known risks over unknown risks) among people as they feel unsettled and in limbo due to the lack of sure footing of information.

A study suggests that it is better to be completely transparent about the uncertainty than to be ambiguous.

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Panic Buying
Panic Buying

The world is seeing panic buying in supermarkets, with items like toilet paper, milk, soda, hand sanitizers, etc. flying off the shelves, especially in places with confirmed cases of the virus.

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Downsides of Panic Buying
  • Panic buying makes people feel in charge of the situation, while seemingly mundane measures like hand-washing, which are actually impactful, seem ordinary.
  • The problem comes when people overbuy in their over-panicked state of mind (irrational stockpiling), making the shortages worse than they really are.
  • Speculators also take advantage of panic buying and raise prices of essential items like face masks, forcing companies to take appropriate measures.
Loss Aversion

..is a principle which makes people do things so that they don't feel regretful later. 

People are panic-buying for the same reason too, with social media and news media amplifying the sense of scarcity.

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A panic attack

The current pandemic is affecting the entire globe. As a result, many people may be experiencing panic attacks for the first time.

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The body's response

A perceived threat may activate the body's physiological "fight or flight" response, similar to what your body would do if you're near a tiger. Your heart starts racing and pumping blood, so your muscles have the fuel to run or fight. 

Panic attacks are relatively common. One in four Americans will have at least one panic attack in their lives. But the pandemic seems to be causing many people to suffer panic attacks within a short time.

Panic attack symptoms

The tightening of the chest and breathing difficulties are often confused for symptoms of the new virus.

Panic attacks come on suddenly and typically last only 15 to 20 minutes, while symptoms of the virus emerge over a few days. With the virus, you will also have other symptoms, like a fever and a cough.

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Stay informed by trusted sources

Facts will minimize your fear. There are two sources to use for managing fear in the new virus response: The World Health Organization and your national authority.

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Always return to yourself

Many consultants have headaches and nausea when they deal with stress and emotion. There are also times when there is nothing they can do, for example, provide beds, masks, and other needed supplies.

A psychological consultant advises that you should be aware of yourself, and distinguish which emotions are yours, which are the patients, and which are your empathy.

The effects of being isolated

Consider unexpected risks associated with the response to the outbreak, for example, poor mental health that is related to social isolation. Steps to take into account:

  • Staying connected with your social and family networks via technology
  • Keeping your daily routines as much as possible
  • Exercising regularly and practicing habits that you enjoy and find relaxing
  • Seeking practical, credible information at specific times of the day.

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