The calculus of death shows the COVID lock-down is clearly worth the cost

Research output: Other contributionOther


Will the number of lives saved as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions be outweighed by the deaths from an economic recession? This is a vital question to answer for governments responding to the current global tragedy. Without numbers, there’s no obvious way of working out whether the economic impacts of the lock-down could be more harmful than the virus. With health economics consultant Daniel West, I have attempted to estimate the numbers involved in Australia. In order to provide a strong challenge to the status quo of lock-down the estimates we have used for increased deaths from a lockdown-induced recession are at the high end of the likely scale. The estimates we have used for deaths from COVID19 if the lockdown ends are at the low end.Our analysis suggests that continuing strict restrictions in order to eradicate COVID-19 is likely to lead to eight times fewer total deaths than an immediate return to life as normal.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Conversation
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2020

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