Integrating Data Variability Into Contemporary COVID-19 Decision Support

In April of 2020, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute partnered with Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) to examine the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and support relevant decision-making to facilitate workforce safety and continuity of utility operations in an environment where initial data were scant and variable. Due to the gradual and variable emergence of information during disasters, precise data is a luxury in decision-making. Instead, we must rely on a dynamic approach, which integrates new information as it becomes available. Often, this requires a combined subjective and objective decision-making framework that shifts toward objectivity as data variability converges and becomes more precise.