Prevention: The Concept of Preventive Risk Reduction, Illustrated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Risk assessment and risk management based on the precautionary principle are instruments to protect humans and the environment against uncertain threats and risks. At the same time, however, trade-offs must always be made in order to maintain cultural, economic and social objectives and to honor the principle of proportionality. Notwithstanding the need for continuous risk reduction, society must distance itself from the idea that science can predict a ll dangerous events and developments and exclude them through preventive action. At best, risk analyses are able to identify the possible threats and uncover weaknesses in the system. In addition, risk assessments help us to make better decisions in the conflict of objectives between the secondary consequences of taking risks (such as exposure in the event of a pandemic) and the secondary consequences of the protective measures taken (economic, social, cultural consequences). In this sense, decisions about acceptability of risks or risk reduction measures always reflect a combination of scientific knowledge with balancing judgments.
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Renn, O. (2021). Vorsorge: Ein Prinzip zur vorbeugenden Risikoreduktion am Beispiel COVID-19. In P. van der Eijk, D. Ganten, & R. Marek (Eds.), Was ist Gesundheit?: interdisziplinäre Perspektiven aus Medizin, Geschichte und Kultur (pp. 376-386). Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter.
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