Covid-19: Inaction Also Has Economic Impact

One point that most of the “the current shutdown is worse economically than letting 1 million people die” crowd seem to overlook is that the number of deaths is a tiny fraction of those hospitalized.

The latest CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) for the coronavirus showed a ratio of 44 deaths to 121 ICU to 508 hospitalized. So 1 million deaths implies 3 million ICU stays and 25 million hospitalized. How does that not have a massive economic impact?

And do not forget that the US has a total capacity of 500,000 hospital beds, 100,000 ICU beds, and 60,000 ventilators. A surge in infections would overwhelm the system, so many households would have one or more desperately sick people literally dying an agonizing death, and without available hospital beds, they would be noisily dying in their bedrooms–how does that not have a massive economic impact?

Anyone who wishes to argue that they would be able to maintain their economic activity by writing off the life of a spouse or parent, rather than trying to treat them and comfort them is welcome to argue their point in the comments!

If you’re going to argue for inaction based on economic impact, you have to look at the economic impact of inaction as well, rather than erroneously and deceptively assuming zero impact.

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