Public need to be presented with a proper assessment of risk

The public discourse should be framed within a proper appreciation of the risks. The risk to most people (ie those not in vulnerable groups) is very small, see eg the work of Prof Spiegelhalter etc - more or less the same risk as everyone has of dying within the next year anyway from other causes. The reason that we have lockdown for those lower risk people is not for their own personal safety, but so as to limit the virus spread so that those who *are* vulnerable are less likely to catch it and so that the health service can cope.

If there is a widespread but misleading perception that everyone is at great risk from the virus (eg First Minister saying "we will not put your children at risk"), then the wrong decisions may be taken. Reopening schools may well be the wrong decision, but that would be because it might cause a general increase in infection rates, not because it would be inherently risky for the children themselves. Similarly with other measures that are being considered.

Why the contribution is important

A simple message has great advantages when actions ("stay at home") are simple. However, as lockdown measures are changed or relaxed, it is far more important that the reasons for doing things are properly understood. If people perceive the risks correctly, they are more likely to understand what is being done and why. And very importantly, they are less likely to be subject to needless anxiety about infection, which will lead to fewer mental health impacts and a quicker economic recovery.

by Broderickbutton on May 05, 2020 at 05:04PM

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Average rating: 4.8
Based on: 6 votes


  • Posted by lindyloo May 05, 2020 at 18:33

    I totally agree. We need to be looking at other scientific advice about coronavirus and lockdown and not just from scientists in this country. I feel both Scottish and Westminster governments have scared people too much. They need to be honest with people. The majority of people who do catch it will have mild or no symptoms. Of course the older generation and people with underlying health problems are higher risk but they are also higher risk when its flu season every year or if the winter vomiting bug is circulating. The government needs to be honest with people about the chances of catching it, and how ill you will be if you do catch it and let us as adults make up our mind if we want to get a haircut, have a coffee with friends and generally get on with our lives.
  • Posted by Bannerman May 08, 2020 at 20:42

    The public discourse should be framed within a proper appreciation of the risks.' This is true but what is a proper appreciation of the risks? The risks go beyond individual infection rates. They include the consequences of a breakdown in the NHS and other support services.
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