What is the total human cost of the COVID19 pandemic? Deaths due to the virus plus those caused by the economic downturn. Other contributing factors? For example, it is well documented that the suicide rate increases during huge economic downturns (such as the 1929 & 2008 stock market crashes). Thus, at what point do we save more lives by reopening business operations and schools than are lost to the virus? A recent ACS Strategic Goals News Alert included a report on "German Humanities Scholars' Unusual Role". It was noted in this report the importance of using philosophers, science historians, jurists, social scientists, and other disciplines in pandemic decision-making in addition to physicians, epidemiologists, virologists, clinicians, etc. My initial reaction is to concur with this report but allow those in the medical related fields more jurisdiction in the very early decision-making stages of a pandemic. After all, we need public buy-in and support to adhere to an often difficult to-follow policy (e.g., shelter in place). Then, when there is more time for discussion and debate, include the social engineers and humanitarians to help arrive at a more accurate "magic number". The "magic number" would be when more lives are saved by returning as close as possible to a "business as usual" status than are lost to virus related deaths. Does this occur when the new COVID19 infection rate is relatively small (whatever that may be) but not necessarily zero?
I would like to hear the opinions of others on this topic. Thanks.
Interesting thoughts. The underlying question revolves around which lives are lost. Those of us who are senior citizens are more vulnerable to the virus, and less vulnerable (as a group) to the economic downturn. The conflict of opinions could be between generations,
Good point. We have certainly seen social media evidence of some young people not caring for what happens to senior citizens. We also observe higher virus related death rates among African-American citizens. Maybe these are two more reasons (age and race) to include a more diverse panel of policy-makers. Of course, none of this was known when COVID19 was first detected in Wuhan. It took thousands of deaths and accurate sharing of information before patterns/trends could emerge.