July 30, 2020


It’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to lead a normal, flourishing life. As we become more familiar with this illness, how it spreads, and what its effects are, there is a constant assessing and reassessing of how to live in this crisis. Should you wear a mask? Visit elderly relatives? Celebrate your high schooler’s graduation? Send your kids to day care? Go to the grocery store? Cancel vacation? Make it a road trip instead? Protest or stay home?

These choices are highly personal and yet there are important implications for public health and safety depending on how we choose to live. Unsurprisingly, the whole discussion has become as polarized as many other issues in our society. It has become difficult to know who to trust in their assessment of risk and appropriate personal risk and public policy.

In this Virtual Round Table discussion, we’ll explore big questions surrounding the pursuit of reliable information during the pandemic and beyond. How do we decide who to listen to in a crisis? Which experts do we trust? What happens when the experts we rely on don’t agree? What role should experts and “common sense” play in charting a path forward? And how do we talk to each other about differing opinions and concerns?

We’ll discuss how our biases and ideological predispositions shape our perspective, as well as how we manage new information and the risk of being wrong. How can we have open and respectful conversations on these issues when we disagree or are unsure of basic facts?