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Making Decisions in a COVID-19 World

Educational Objective
To determine the risks that must be assessed before making decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic
1 Credit CME

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses difficult interdependent decisions for professionals and the individuals they serve. Professionals must answer questions such as: When should clinics, schools, salons, meat-packing plants, movie theaters, and other entities open? When should they close because of proven, possible, or perceived problems? When should they be reopened?

Individuals must answer complementary questions. When is it safe enough to visit a physician’s office, get a dental check-up, shop for clothing, ride the bus, visit an aging or incarcerated relative, or go to the gym? What does it mean that some places are open but not others and in one state, but not in a bordering one? How do individuals make sense of conflicting advice about face masks, fomites, and foodstuffs?

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Corresponding Author: Baruch Fischhoff, PhD, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (baruch@cmu.edu).

Published Online: June 4, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10178

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
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Fischhoff  B .  The realities of risk-cost-benefit analysis.   Science. 2015;350(6260):aaa6516. doi:10.1126/science.aaa6516PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Fischhoff  B , Kadvany  J .  Risk: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press; 2011. doi:10.1093/actrade/9780199576203.001.0001
3.
Morgan  MG .  Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis. Cambridge University Press; 2017. doi:10.1017/9781316882665
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von Winterfeldt  D , Edwards  W .  Decision Analysis and Behavioral Research. Cambridge University Press; 1986.
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O’Mahony  S , Bechky  BA .  Boundary organizations: enabling collaboration among unexpected allies.   Adm Sci Q. 2008;53:422-459. doi:10.2189/asqu.53.3.422Google ScholarCrossref
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National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  Rapid Expert Consultations for the COVID-19 Pandemic. National Academies Press; 2020.
7.
Fischhoff  B .  The sciences of science communication.   Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(suppl 3):14033-14039. doi:10.1073/pnas.1213273110PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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