Taking an absolutist approach means assigning zero weight to all risks other than the medical one, points out Talya Miron-Shatz, a decision scientist and visiting researcher at the University of Cambridge. “This, in fact, is what every news outlet has been doing for almost a year now,” she says. “We see counts of dead, sick, hospitalized, but not of unemployed, lonely, anxious, or just losing it because so much has been taken from us — company, theaters, and mostly peace of mind. Then there are the health hazards, as people have been avoiding routine care because they feared catching Covid. These costs need to be calculated individually. There’s no easy way to quantify them, which means it’s no wonder that some people ignore them altogether, minimize cognitive effort, and just focus on Covid.”
This story, from last April, still seems relevant today.