The public may be putting themselves at greater risk in the early stages of Covid-19 by underestimating the benefits of meeting outdoors, ESRI says

According to ESRI research, the public is at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 in the early stages of the pandemic by underestimating the benefits of interacting outdoors rather than indoors.

he controlled the summer 2020 trial, led by Shane Timmins, which compared the risk assessments of about 800 adults with 56 health professionals.

It consists of four Covid-19 risk tasks with the first asking participants to write down the factors they consider when assessing the risk of infection in a social setting.

In the second task, they were shown that descriptions of social gatherings varied according to different risk factors such as how many people were there, whether indoor or outdoor.

Their job is to assess how risky they think the gathering will be.

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They looked at various descriptions, and we systematically varied the risk factors, which allowed us to determine the weights for each.

The third task asked participants to rate their importance to different risk factors, with limited other contextual information.

The aim was to test whether the perceived risk of exposure was influenced by the presence of non-Covid risks.

“For example, in stories read by some of the participants, the person risked exposure because they had a serious underlying health problem and had no other way to get to the appointment. In others, the “alternative” risk they face is minimal (e.g., a minor medical problem for which a video call might suffice).

“Participants were asked to assess only their individual risk of contracting Covid-19. The story each participant read was chosen at random. “

In the first mandate, the general public and experts largely mentioned the number of people and whether social distancing can be maintained as factors they consider when assessing risk.

However, the expert sample is more likely to refer to location – whether it takes place indoors or outdoors, and the time of the meeting.

When assessing the risk profile of different social contexts, statistical models show that the general public and experts give similar weights to the number of people present, the ease with which they are separated. social distancing and whether or not to wear a mask.

Disparities emerged in place and time, with experts giving significantly more weight to both than the public sample.

In the third task, the public ranked environmental factors higher than other factors, indicating that these factors are prioritized only when other contextual information is limited.

Results from the fourth task showed that people rated the risk of infection lower when people were more likely to be exposed to the virus to avoid another risk, than when the reason for the exposure was less risky. This effect was only observed for other health-related risks, not financial risks.

The study’s authors said that by the summer of 2020, the public had already absorbed information about some of the key risk factors for Covid-19, such as whether there is a potential for social distancing and wearing a mask. page or not.

“However, health professionals see a significantly greater risk when seeing other people in the home or staying with other people for long periods of time.

“Overall, the results suggest that, compared with health professionals, the public is likely to underestimate the benefits of interacting outdoors rather than indoors and to focus more on the number of people they come close.

“This difficulty, coupled with the finding that perceived risk of exposure can be reduced by independent factors – such as other health needs – implies that people may have unwittingly placed themselves into environments with a higher risk of infection.” The public may be putting themselves at greater risk in the early stages of Covid-19 by underestimating the benefits of meeting outdoors, ESRI says

Fry Electronics Team

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