Precaution, resilience, faith, and COVID-19

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Ben J.M. Ale Des N.D. Hartford David H. Slater

Abstract

The scene for the COVID-19 crisis was set in the decades that preceded it. These decades can be characterized by increased profusion of market thinking in the care sector and by continuous but largely ignored warnings. International bodies and national institutes repeatedly warned that a worldwide influenza pandemic was very likely in the medium term and the potential consequences would be catastrophic. In risk management theories, resilience has become accepted as a new way of dealing with risks. By “engineering-in” resilience, it is argued that it is logical to expect that a system will be better equipped to absorb, resist and bounce back from adverse events. More recently though some have viewed resilience as an alternative to relying on precautionary risk management and it has obtained a more ominous meaning, supporting the idea that such precautionary measures are unnecessary and unjustified, given the opportunity costs of committing money for events that may not happen. As a result, the risks of a pandemic were accepted, in spite of the “science”, without any additional, specific, or noticeable precautions. But in a modern democracy “science” cannot prescribe political decisions. People are often inclined not to spend money on precaution, or prevention, and are more inclined to complain only after a risk has materialized in a disaster, or crisis. These are always value judgments at best and power broking at worst. Judgments are essentially subjective and the exercise of power is the ultimate political game. This may be hard to swallow for some in the “scientific” risk profession. The COVID 19 situation is moving fast. It changes even while we are writing this paper. Since our understanding of the coronavirus behavior, will determine to a certain extent any judgment on the way the risk is being dealt with, this paper reflects our current perception.

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How to Cite
ALE, Ben J.M.; HARTFORD, Des N.D.; SLATER, David H.. Precaution, resilience, faith, and COVID-19. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 8, aug. 2020. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://journals.ke-i.org/mra/article/view/2197>. Date accessed: 30 sep. 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v8i8.2197.
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