COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS

I was thinking about why a c-b a for Covid restrictions would not be valid.

So firstly a look at costs of a lockdown. presumably an economic figure can be calculated with reasonable accuracy (Unemployment and welfare costs plus loss of tax income). Add on reduced tax from firms with reduced capacity (e.g. Airlines). I am sure this is a considerable cost. Then there is the social cost of isolation and measures on mental welfare. And the benefits of a lockdown are much more difficult to calculate – lower costs for NHS. Maybe some small environmental gains. I would calculate the cost of Tier 3 for the whole nation at about £40 billion (back of an envelope).

Costs of opening up economy. Economically it is probably fairer to calculate the reduction in economic costs as there will still be restrictions. Costs of increased pressure on NHS and reduced capacity for other things can probably be calculated – I have no idea of the cost a covid patient per day? Or the economic cost of a death at different ages, or the impacts of long covid. Just as lockdown creates mental health problems, the converse is also true with people being worried about being outside with lack of observance of safety rules. The social cost of deaths is also un-quantifiable. From what we hqve4 seen so far it would seem that any opening up of the economy will be met with a strict lockdown soon after.

Whilst the economic impacts maybe retrieved in the long term, the social costs cannot. Which leads to the final point. Vaccines are on their way – so probably 4/5 months more of restrictions before a return to some sort of normality.

But also remember that the more we intrude into the natural world, the more likely it is that further virus outbreaks will occur (AIDS, SARS, BIRD FLU, etc.).

Maybe it is time to increase the aid budget in an attempt to reduce the discrepancies in wealth between countries. This would reduce the population explosion in Africa and South Asia. In turn this would reduce the environmental pressure on habitats. We should also invest in using our land more sustainably. I feel a new post coming on!

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