Cost comparisonIs the COVID-19 Pandemic Cure Really Worse than the Disease? Here’s What Our Research Found

Published 13 July 2020

The coronavirus pandemic catapulted the country into one of the deepest recessions in U.S. history, leaving millions of Americans without jobs or health insurance. There is a lot of evidence that economic hardship is associated with poor health and can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseasemental health problemscognitive dysfunction and early death. All of that raises a question: Is the U.S. better off with the public health interventions being used to keep the coronavirus from spreading or without them? In a new working paper, Olga Yakusheva, Associate Professor in Nursing and Public Health at the University of Michigan, writes in The Conversation that she  and a research team of health economists from U.S. universities set out to answer that question from a humanitarian perspective. They estimate that by the end of 2020, public health measures to mitigate COVID-19 – including business lockdowns, school closings, etc. —  would save between 900,000 and 2.7 million lives in the U.S. The economic downturn and loss of income from shelter-in-place measures and other restrictions on economic activity could contribute to between 50,400 and 323,000 deaths, based on an economic decline of 8%-14%.