Why don’t we do this every year?

I commend to you this rather good and thought-provoking article in Saturday’s South China Morning Post.

It seems to me that the world is seriously short of leaders who are prepared to do a serious cost-benefit analysis of the current more or less global lockdown. They really need to be looking at QALYs. It seems to me that millions of people are being condemned to years or decades of abject poverty in order to extend the lives of Covid-19 victims (the vast majority of whom have one or more chronic illnesses) by a few months or a year or two.

This really doesn’t make sense unless you put an enormous value on a QALY.

And if you put such a value on a QALY then firstly we should shut down every year to curb the hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from influenza, and secondly we should be spending similar sums on getting rid of tuberculosis, which kills 1,500,000 or so people every single year!

4 Responses to Why don’t we do this every year?

  1. Deep Blue says:

    The article calls for a cost benefit analysis when neither the costs nor the benefits can be quantified before the facts are known. Can not believe the SCMP publishes this kind of rubbish, their standards really have dropped.

  2. smog says:

    An Opinion page is for opinions. Do you suggest that only “approved” opinions should be published?

    And what basis do you propose to use for decision-making if not quantified analysis (however rough some of the underlying estimations might be)? Maybe we should all be guided by Mrs Lam’s conversations with her imaginary friend?

  3. Chris says:

    I agree that cost-benefit analysis is a good thing, such as this article by Tim Harford: http://timharford.com/2020/04/how-do-we-value-a-statistical-life

    Doing anything more detailed than that now (when there is so little we know for certain about COVID-19 or the effects of lockdown) is impossible.

    Oh, and SCMP standards dropped a very long time ago.

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