Pandemic Thoughts

I am getting impatient. It is difficult to admit to myself, but I am turning into a crank, a real old fart, whenever the topic turns to COVID in conversations with collegues or friends. I find myself pontificating and linking to opinion articles and statistics that show how things could be so much better, if we just got our act together.

Needless to say, I am not proud of this. Maybe the pandemic is finally getting to me, even though my work and life situation are such that the negative impact on me has been minor compared to many people, if not most. For that I am certainly grateful.

Still, I find it difficult to shake off this vague feeling of frustration over the fact that we are doing much worse than we could. Not so much because I think I know better than the experts, but rather because there is a wide range of opinions among people with expertise, and I am convinced more by the ones that want to widen the Overton window to doing things differently than before, because we can and because the dire situation warrants it.

Just to name one example, while the quick vaccine development is a great success, it could have been accelerated by months by allowing the routines for Phase-3-trials and approval to be adapted from the status quo. This is not even hindsight knowledge, but people argued for challenge trials at the time already.

I think a part of "the problem" is the general unwillingness to properly weigh risks againt each other. If some people will get harmed by a decision, like the hypothetical one not to suspend a vaccine due to suspected rare side effects, because it reduces harm for a much larger group, then it is the right thing to do and should trump the concerns. I understand that decision makers get much more easily blamed for action than inaction, but we should correct for this bias, not accept it.

A few related links: