The following is an excerpt from a piece authored by Center for Truth in Science board member Dr. Richard Williams. Click here to read the full article.

The concept of risk is having quite a year this year. We have had to grapple with the countless risks related to COVID-19 and reassess how the world should function when facing a pandemic. People everywhere are clashing about how we should function in this new reality. While many argue with how individuals and leaders are making decisions, the real problem may be ignorance that plagues us all.

But how we react to risks, and directions from leaders, is much more complex than you might think. Some people fear sharks more than cars, although the probability of dying in a car is over 30,000 times higher. And yet, a person who scuba dives for a living in Australia and rarely drives may have a reason to fear sharks more. 

We all perceive risks differently because, in part, we see the world differently. But just as importantly, we also have different risk profiles. A risk profile for an illness is the probability of getting ill from specific hazards and how severely it will affect us. When we judge how others are reacting to the coronavirus, it is important to recognize both dimensions, risk perceptions and risk profiles and note that people can err in both dimensions.

The reason we are turning to personalized medicine and precision nutrition is because we are learning more about differences based on our bodies and our environment. Our susceptibility depends on our genetic makeup, exercise, sleep, environmental exposures, diet, stress, age, weight, sex, and, as we are increasingly beginning to understand, the microbes in our gut.  

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