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Risk-Informed Decision Making: More Critical Today Than Ever Before

Crystal Watson, Lucia Mullen
Date posted:
June 17, 2020
Publication type:
Health Secur. 2020 May/Jun;18(3):153-154
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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Decision making under uncertainty can be paralyzing for any leader trying to choose the best way forward. In the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty is deep; while we learn more every day, information gaps—including those related to viral transmission dynamics, the human immune response, the effectiveness of public health interventions like social distancing, and the future trajectory of COVID-19 spread—continue to be barriers to leaders making evidence-based decisions about protective actions.

Decision making, especially during a pandemic, requires exceptional leadership that prioritizes rigorous approaches to producing high-quality data and then turning that evidence into action. Due to political pressure or attempts to calm the public, leaders may, instead, react quickly without considering the full impact of their choices. However, during pandemics and other emergencies, rational, evidence-based decision making is even more critical, especially when crucial decisions must be made despite gaps in information.



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