Yeah... but I like going outside at dusk.
The incentives for the Health Department are to exaggerate the risks, because when somebody gets Eastern Equine Encephalitis and dies they can (correctly) point to their High Risk Warning and say "not our fault, we told you so."
But maybe the risk really is high, and we ought to slather ourselves with DEET before walking downtown for dessert.
I wish there was a standard, easy-to-understand unit of risk, so the Heath Department could say something like "We estimate spending an evening in downtown Amherst with no mosquito repellant is 4-10 RUs (risk units)."
Where 1 risk unit is something we can all understand-- maybe "the risk associated with driving 100 miles on the highway."
Or "1 risk unit is the overall risk of dying in an accident in any given year."
I don't know what the right baseline would be; it doesn't really matter what is chosen, what matters is making it easy to compare the risks of things relative to each other. The Health Department says we're at High risk... but High compared to what?