We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

How to Make Decisions in a Pandemic: A Tyee Video

WATCH: Humans aren’t built to make smart decisions right now. Here’s a guide to doing better.

Tyee Staff 8 Apr 2020 | TheTyee.ca

Smart decisions are never more critical than in a pandemic.

But our brains aren’t wired well to judge risks and plan responses when a virus like COVID-19 threatens us all.

Fortunately, this short Tyee video — less than five minutes long — can help you understand the problem, make smarter decisions and do a better job of protecting yourself and others.

Two experts — psychologist Paul Slovic, an expert in decision-making in times of risk, and UBC bioethicist Rana Ahmad — explain why we get things wrong and how we can adjust our thinking to make smarter choices.

Why, for example, our impulse to stock up on hand sanitizer seems sensible, but works against our self-interest and increases our chances of getting COVID-19. And why our brains struggle to compute the kinds of risks that come with exponential growth.

This video is the first in a series of pandemic-related videos in partnership with Vancouver’s Avo Media team of Jesse Lupini, Koby Michaels and Lucas Kavanagh.

Stay tuned for more. And let us know what you think in the comments.

To get notified when new videos are uploaded, follow our Youtube channel by clicking the red 'subscribe' button.  [Tyee]

Read more: Health, Coronavirus

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Concerned About Ticks?

Take this week's poll