Cost of Shutdown
Preventing the spread of coronavirus saves lives and prevent severe illness. What is the best way to prevent the spread while preventing the least damage to people’s health, lives, and wellbeing?
What is the cost of shutting down major parts of the economy, restricting school attendance, and limiting social gatherings to combat the coronavirus?
|COVID-19 Deaths||Shutdown/Fear Deaths|
What is the cost of shutting down major parts of the economy, restricting school attendance, and limiting social gatherings to combat the coronavirus? According to Dr. Fauci, the goal is to “flattened the curve,” so that hospitals are not overwhelmed and turning people away. How do we find the right balance of protecting people from COVID-19 and protecting others from a shutdown?
The US has had increased deaths due to heart attacks and other circulatory diseases (not from COVID-19 Infection), according to data from the CDC (see below). Did these people die from panic and fear about COVID-19? Were they the first of many unintended casualties in the war against COVID-19?
Excess, non-COVID-19 deaths occur at state level. As one example, more Coloradans have died between March and May than can be attributed to COVID-19. Death due to heart disease rose 8.2% compared to a three-year prior average. (2029 deaths versus 1,875.) Overdoses rose 57% (to 328) Denver Post, 2020.)
What costs are people willing to make going forward? How many heart attacks and overdoses are acceptable? What are people’s projections for the distress due to lost jobs, lost business, lost opportunities? What are the projections for additional disease due to the stress of disconnection?
Following is a table with the hypothetical costs to lives by shutting down the economy for 6 months. This table does not have any answers, but lots of questions that might provide discussion and useful solutions. For example, if people are shut down and do not get timely cancer screening, the incidence of untreatable cancers will go up. By how much? The following table suggests that the deaths due to cancer may go up by five percent in one year. Over the course of one year, this could represent nearly 30,000 additional death due to cancer.
In addition to costs to people’s lives, there are also costs to people’s ability to earn, costs to governments, costs to student’s ability to gain an education.
On the up side, it seems that other deaths will decrease aas a result of Covid19. Will car accidents go down as a result of people staying at home? With fewer people in hospitals, will deaths due to medical errors decrease?