Economics vs. Health - the lockdown cure being worse than the disease?

A cartoon from the Daily Telegraph 3 April 2020.

One set of calculations for the optimum' period of lockdown was published by Professor Philip Thomas of Bristol University. It is an interesting, fascinating and informative scientific paper even if you can't get your head around the mathematics.

There are many ways to calculate the 'worth' of a life (or more correctly the value of a year of life extension) and answers range from millions of dollars if you are a rich American down to 29 pence - the cost of a rehydration kit for children suffering from 'third world' diseases such a typhoid. This can make the difference between death and maybe 40 years of useful life. I used to lecture on these topics many years ago!

In my even younger days, when I was a government energy scientist, we were busy calculating the optimum thickness of insulation for buildings - one factor was the 'excess' deaths that occurred in a harsh UK winter (about 30,000 of them) compared to countries such as Sweden where winters and insulation of buildings were taken more seriously. All great fun if you understand marginal cost benefit calculations - which some government ministers appear never to have comprehended.

I also recall that, back in the 1980s, about 30,000 children died every DAY in Africa from malnutrition. I have no idea of the current figure.

covid cartoon.JPG (90952 bytes)

0. Index page.

1. Wet markets, abuses of wildlife, organised crime and the origins of the virus.

2. Folk dancing and the importance of other 'super-spreader' events - experience overseas.

3. Scientists, government scientists, and criticisms of government policy in the UK.

4. How many people will die - no-one can tell until the final reckoning.

5. Policing of lockdown in the UK - the need for police reform (starting at the top?).

6. Religious nutcases and despotic governments (often the same people!)

7. Economics vs. Health - the lockdown cure being worse than the disease?

8. Ventilators and cures.

9. Shaggy dog stories - and wash your hands.

10. Reserved.

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