In our day-to-day lives, we assess the risks around us and make countless decisions that affect our own safety and the safety of our loved ones. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has opened up an interesting conversation on how we identify, understand, and manage risks to our health.

Although some risk is unavoidable, we can control many of the risks we face. Many of us accept and live with the risks associated with such things as heart disease, cancer, and car accidents. We understand these risks and do what we can to minimize them and protect ourselves.

However, the health risks associated with COVID-19 are different, because we have more personal responsibility. We each must gauge how much risk we are willing to take around certain activities, such as eating dinner indoors at a restaurant vs. eating outdoors, or riding in a taxi.  

As the country begins to reopen, these decisions have become more complicated. We have more opportunities to leave the house, and many of us are coping with “COVID-19 fatigue”—after so many months of staying home and taking precautions, we want our lives to return to normal. These things influence how we make decisions regarding risk.

Here are our recommendations:

  1. Start with a self-assessment. Think about who you are as a person and what level of risk feels comfortable to you. Are you a daredevil, or do you prefer to live a low-risk life? Do you have chronic health conditions that increase your risk of severe illness if you’re infected with COVID-19?
  2. Assess the risk of the activity. In addition to assessing your level of risk, it’s important to understand the level of risk for the plans you’re making. If you’re unsure about the risks associated with certain activities, such as flying on an airplane, research the implications before you decide how to proceed.
  3. Seek outside guidance. An experienced health advisor can guide you through the risk-assessment process, taking into consideration your current health and the risk factors associated with that particular activity. A health advisor offers an outside perspective and so that you can make an informed decision without being swayed by emotions.