Bjorn Lomborg: Follow Sweden’s example – ‘Shutdown is unsustainable’ – ‘We need to map a middle course that both saves most lives
avoids a catastrophic recession’
— Hoover Institution (@HooverInst) April 6, 2020
By Bjørn Lomborg
The potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is enormous. But draconian policies to tackle the virus also have colossal costs. Ignoring the trade-offs could land us with one of the worst possible outcomes.
An Imperial College study (bit.ly/2V5nrKG) on death impacts from different policies showed that without any policies, the coronavirus would kill 500,000 people in Britain and 2.2 million in the US. Unrestricted Covid-19 m ..
Unfortunately, the study also shows that such a successful reduction in infection means few people have gained immunity. So, if restrictions are lifted in September, a second wave of infections may once again overwhelm society and kill almost as many.
So, if we want to keep deaths low, we may have to maintain social restrictions for most of what could be a two-year wait before vaccinations are hopefully available. This point needs more emphasis. Up to two years of draconian so ..
So, if we want to keep deaths low, we may have to maintain social restrictions for most of what could be a two-year wait before vaccinations are hopefully available. This point needs more emphasis. Up to two years of draconian social restrictions will not only be phenomenally costly, but also impossibly hard to keep in place.
Look at the costs first. Most of the early predictions were moderate. But the world’s much more severe policies have exploded the costs. According to JPM ..
Moreover, most governments seem to have committed to draconian policies to avoid most deaths over the long term. These will cost much, much more. If China wants to reopen, it risks a second wave of corona. If it doesn’t, the economic contraction could continue or get worse. Economists are now suggesting the costs of continued extreme policies could be comparable to Germany in the 1920s or the US in the 1930s, with massive economic costs, a third of the workforce unemployed and a generational los ..
These policies cannot realistically be sustained for many months, let alone years. Already, cellphone-tracking shows that 40% of Italians still move around, despite curfews and lockdowns. In France, ‘virus rebels’ are defying bans and young Germans hold ‘corona parties’ while coughing at older people.
As weeks of shutdown turn into months, this will get much worse. With many more people at home, this will likely lead to higher levels of domestic violence and substance abuse. As schools ..
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