Recency Bias and COVID-19

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It is easy for us to place more value on things in our life that are more recent to us. This is called Recency Bias.

We struggle to be able to have perspective on similar events over time.

An easy example of this is in the sports world. Do we repeatedly have discussions about who is the greatest player of all time?

In the NBA, is it LeBron James or Michael Jordan or Bill Russell?

In the NFL is it Tom Brady or Joe Montana or Jim Brown?

In Major League Baseball is it Barry Bonds or Pete Rose or Ted Williams?

We use statistics to try and level the playing field, but despite doing so, we often have a difficult time putting those stats into the context of the sport or the time frame when the player played.

We give more weight to more recent data because it is fresher in our minds.

As such, most people would tell you that the players they see playing now or have recently seen are the greatest of all time because they have a recency bias in coming to that conclusion.

I strongly feel this same recency bias is going on with our perception and views of COVID-19.

Here in Charleston, SC we are under a two week mandatory home quarantine which as you know is representative of what is going on not only across the United States, but the world at large.

We have shut down a plethora of businesses and the number of people applying for unemployment is going through the roof.

Proponents of this wide-spread approach are telling us that COVID-19 is the worst thing we have ever encountered and the death rate of this virus is so destructive that unless we run from it, hide from it, isolated from it, we are all doomed.

I would like you to take a few minutes and read this article written by Stanford Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health, Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis.

In this article, Dr. Ioannidis carefully breaks down the statistics of COVID-19 and paints a different picture then what we are being fed by the mainstream media.

While he certainly acknowledges, as I do, that this virus is a real issue, he points out some alarming statistics that support my perspective that we are over-reacting to this virus and that our “cure” will ultimately be worse than the disease itself.

We all need to be prepared. We all need to support each other in getting through this very challenging time.

As I have discussed earlier, the best way to prepare yourself is a daily, deliberate approach to your health and well-being. This includes paying time, energy and money into how you think, what you eat, how you move and all the things you take in your life to better yourself.

We cannot live in fear under the notion that the apocalypse is upon us and that we must run away in order to protect ourselves. This idea does not have merit and is supported by the media’s recency bias about how dangerous this virus is.

How easily we forget the Swine Flu H1N1 that caused more disease and mortality than COVID-19.

How easily we forget that the annual statistics for the “regular” Influenza dwarf the stats for COVID-19.

How easily we forget that the death rates from automobile accidents and obesity easily trounce the death rates from COVID-19.

As my good friend put it: the only 100% approach to never getting COVID-19 is to live in a metabolic chamber (a bubble of sorts). In this chamber, you are 100% protected from catching anything at all! Amazing.

Oh wait, when you live in this chamber, you cannot survive because you cannot have any food in the chamber.

So, it is a great way to make sure you never get COVID-19 but it is also a surefire way to die.

Let me also remind you that we have more foreign DNA in our bodies than human DNA. Yes, this is 100% true. We have more bacteria, viral and parasitic DNA than we do human DNA.

We are constantly exposed to the environment where we can choose to thrive or we can choose to run and hide.

It is a choice.

Actually and unfortunately, it is becoming less of a choice as our government is forcing us to run and hide.

And unfortunately, our government, like our media, is not able to evaluate the statistics of this virus objectively. The recency bias and fear that clouds their vision does NOT have to be yours.

Again, please read this article to have a better understanding of how the data is being manipulated.

My hope is that each of us can move forward through this difficult time with the strength and conviction that each of us is very strong and healthy. And in order to maintain that powerful presence, we need to practice everyday bettering ourselves. It starts with a positive mindset and manifests into a life of deliberate action.

The COVID-19 virus is real and it causes disease and unfortunately death.

Use this time of turmoil to bolster your own individual approach to your health and performance so that you can not only strengthen your immune system, but also your belief in how we as the community at large can care for each other.

To your best heath and performance,

Dr. K

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