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❄️ Freezethawed: The Newsletter #036 - The Peltzman Effect

❄️ Freezethawed: The Newsletter #036 - The Peltzman Effect

Hello everyone!

I hope you all are doing well. The COVID case load seems to be declining steadily. Also, my COVID posting have begun again and for the better half of this month I will be in COVID wards. This led me to research the Peltzman effect and why is it important to know about it during this time particularly.

The Peltzman effect and COVID

The Peltzman effect means behaviour compensating for the perceived risk. In other terms, people become more careful when they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.

Vaccines are giving a sense of security, leading to an increased rise of risky behaviour. Here’s the problem. While vaccines neither give immediate protection nor full protection, the sense of security unfortunately starts much earlier, sometimes even before the actual injection. And Peltzman effect comes into play: people wear masks with less caution, do not maintain distance as soon as they reach vaccination centres.

The Peltzman effect in fact started for most people even before they took the vaccine. Many people felt protected just looking at the vaccination numbers. The mask usage, social distancing and hand sanitisation have become progressively less. While this is attributed mainly to pandemic fatigue, the Peltzman effect cannot be ignored.

The Peltzman effect can be particularly disastrous for health care workers who directly deal with COVID patients on the regular. A lot of them have gotten infected in the present second wave impairing the health care services. The Peltzman effect is also evident in the drastic decline in the usage of PPE kits by the healthcare workers.

If you’ve observed this behaviour in yourself or someone else it is probably the Peltzman effect in action. You can beware and caution yourself against this behaviour when you see it cropping up and reassess the perceived risk. Recognising the Peltzman effect in me has helped me stay more vigilant instead of dropping my guard.

Until next time!


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