A new study claims that the lockdown is destroying 10 times as many Quality Adjusted Life Years as it is saving

https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/20201209_Rethinking_lockdowns_Joffe_COMMENTARY_FWeb.pdf

Yet we also need to consider the costs of lockdown. According to the Ca-nadian Medical Association President’s letter, “The strength of the economy should not come at the expense of Canadians’ lives” (Collins 2020). An opin-ion piece by the Scientific Advisory Group on COVID-19 lead in Alberta wrote that a “circuit-breaker” lockdown would “strike a balance between the need to save lives and to limit the impact on our economy” and “no one wants to sacrifice our elderly or kill the economy” (Saxinger 2020). Unfortunately, this frame of the trade-offs demonstrates a misunderstanding, a false dichotomy. We must consider the benefit and cost using a common metric. We are com-paring COVID-19 deaths vs. economic recession deaths, lives versus lives, as the economy is not simply about wealth, but about lives.

Government spending on health care, education, roads, sanitation, housing, nutrition, vaccines, safety, social security nets, clean energy, and other ser-vices determine the population well-being and life-expectancy. Government spending on all of these things, and not just on health care, have a strong historical long-run relation with life expectancy. If the public system is forced to spend less on our future, there are statistical lives lost; people will die in the years to come. Similarly, decisions about what resources to apply to main-tain public health from government services (e.g., treatment of cancer, heart disease, etc.) are based on research regarding how much health and life these expenditures can buy.

The lockdowns caused an economic recession in Canada and for much of the world. Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Theresa Tam wrote that “the extensive slowdown in the Canadian economy [was] as a result of public health emergency measures” (Chief Public Health Officer of Canada 2020). The severity of mandated lockdowns was directly linked with the severity of the economic collapse; these were direct commands to halt work, restrict travel, restrict the number of people inside dwellings, close factory floors, stay at home, etc. A minimum cost calculation of the recession’s effect on reducing government spending on the determinants of population wellbe-ing and lifespan is this: (at least US$50 trillion GDP loss globally) X (around 40 percent of GDP from government expenditures) ÷ (less than US$80,000/QALY) is equal to or greater than 250 million QALY lost in the years to come. Already the cost-benefit balance comes out about 10 times against lockdowns (see Table 1).

December 27, 2020. Tags: , , . COVID-19.

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