COVID in Kids – How to Assess Risk and Avoid Cognitive Illusions

Jonathan Howard, MD, is double boarded in Neurology and Psychiatry and as he puts it in his Twitter profile, the author of several non-bestselling neurology textbooks. That’s not why he’s being interviewed. H wrote his own book on fallacy and errors in medicine entitled, Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes: A Case-Based Guide to Critical Thinking in Medicine. I keep trying to interview him about the book and he keeps changing the subject! In the last interview, we discussed cognitive biases in vaccine hesitancy and used by antivaxxers and this time we talk about how biases influence how we perceive the danger that covid-19 poses to children. He teaches us about the contrast effect and why it can be used to dangerously minimize the impact of COVID on children, but how we also need to use contrast as a frame of reference when determining risk.

Dr. Howard did his residency and fellowship at NYU, where he is now an associate Professor of  Neurology and Psychiatry, specializing in Multiple Sclerosis. He is the neurology clerkship director and director of neurology at Bellevue. He can be found on Twitter at @JHowardBrainMD and blog articles on 

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