Robert Yokley

Total Human Cost of COVID19

Discussion created by Robert Yokley on Apr 24, 2020
Latest reply on Apr 24, 2020 by Robert Yokley

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.