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What Are The Odds? — By John Reed

What Are The Odds?
All of life is a series of risks. Ask any insurance adjuster why car insurance rates are higher for the 16-25 crowd, and they’ll cite statistics on how much much more likely that age group has accidents. The same holds true for smokers and health insurance.
Every day we face various levels of risks even as we get out of bed. Some are pretty far-fetched: the odds are millions-to-one for lightning strikes, billions-to-one for a lottery jackpot, quintillions-to-one for all 13 spades to be dealt to you.
More mundane risks include getting into a traffic accident, getting food poisoning from a restaurant, or skin cancer from too much sun. Rational people plan their actions to mitigate these odds, so that their lives have less risk.
We’ve all known people who seem to be overly cautious, to the point of constantly living in fear of some doom befalling them. And of course most teenagers are the opposite, convinced that they’re impervious to harm…hence the higher insurance rates.
And then there are the otherwise rational, mature adults who for whatever reason choose to take risks even when given the odds. It’s tempting to count smokers and other tobacco users in that crowd, but nicotine addiction is powerful monkey on one’s back.
I’m as guilty as the next person. I take part in a weekly statistics seminar that involves researching 52-card and currency distribution. Call it a poker game if you must, but the participants take their research seriously. So when I roll through a stop sign or sample food from an unknown food truck, I do understand I’m risking a ticket or upset stomach.
But there are some risks I won’t take. At my age and health, the odds of Covid or some other disease attacking me are high enough that I take steps to minimize the risk. I take my meds, and yes, I got my shots. And when the booster comes along, I’ll take it too. I may even take the flu shot this year for the first time.
I realize some folks have very valid medical reasons for holding off on taking the Covid vaccine. But it comes down to weighing the odds: which is more likely to sicken or kill you, the disease or the cure?

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