Why we fail to prepare for disasters?

Coronavirus bursting on the scene- all of a sudden! 

Pandemics expose the true shortcomings of the healthcare infrastructure. While it may be tempting to blame the policymakers for the viral outbreaks, they are also guided by data on the ground (or lack thereof) and the risks to the systems they are running. It is not perfect but the brilliant write up linked here suggests that it might be wilful; we are often guided by incredulous claims or our “gut feelings” because actionable data is not always convincing.

It is understandable that we have too few doctors, nurses and hospital beds to cope with a pandemic: spare doctors are expensive. It is less clear why we have so few masks, are so unprepared to carry out widespread testing and didn’t do more to develop coronavirus vaccines after the Sars epidemic of 2003, which involved a strain related to the current outbreak. (There was a flurry of activity, but interest waned after 2004.)

We were warned, both by the experts and by reality. Yet on most fronts, we were still caught unprepared. Why?

Wilful blindness is not confined to those in power. The rest of us should acknowledge that we too struggled to grasp what was happening as quickly as we should.

Rest of the post fills us up with confirmation biases. However, recommended read.

via Tim Harford: why we fail to prepare for disasters | Financial Times