How economists calculate the costs and benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns


Value of Saving One Statistical Life, by Age

There is a huge public debate whether the economic costs of actions designed to arrest the spread of COVID-19 are worth the potential health benefits achieved.

Literally trillions of dollars in lost economic output and uncounted lives hang in the balance. No rational discussion of this weighty issue is possible without first having a hard-nosed discussion of the dollar value of saving the lives of COVID-19 patients.

This post will focus on the well-established methods that health economists have devised to answer this question.

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U.S. life expectancy declining due to more deaths in middle age


(Reuters Health) – After rising for decades, life expectancy in the U.S. decreased for three straight years, driven by higher rates of death among middle aged Americans, a new study suggests.

Midlife all-cause mortality rates were increasing between 2010 and 2017, driven by higher numbers of deaths due to drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, suicides and organ system diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, according to the report published in JAMA.

“There has been an increase in death rates among working age Americans,” said Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “This is an emergent crisis. And it is a uniquely American problem since it is not seen in other countries. Something about life in America is responsible.”

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Air pollution cuts two years off global average lifespan, says study


A woman wearing a mask walks along a street in smog-hit Beijing. Photograph: Andy Wong/AP

Air pollution cuts the average lifespan of people around the globe by almost two years, analysis shows, making it the single greatest threat to human health.

The research looked at the particulate pollution produced by the burning of fossil fuels by vehicles and industry. It found that in many parts of the worst-affected nations – India and China – lifespans were being shortened by six years.

The work combined research on the reduced lifespans caused by long-term exposure to particulates with very detailed pollution maps. The impact of toxic air is greater than that of cigarette smoking or HIV/Aids.

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How long before we reach 180 year lifespan?

PZ Myers, David Brin, Eliezer Yudkowski and Eneasz Brodski were debating about immortality. Eliezer brought up the point about different levels of immortality and had 10,000 years as a lower bound of immortality. Many of the complaints from PZ Myer and David Brin were concerns about societal effects that might accompany the change to people living a lot longer.


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Top 3 challenges of longevity

In developed nations people are living longer.  There are increases in life expectancy at birth ranging from 2.7 years in Greece to 5.1 years in Ireland, between 1990 and 2010.This longevity rise has been attributed to improving health factors, better lifestyles and medical advances. This is giving us reasons to celebrate, but what are the challenges of living longer?



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Lifespan declining in women in some parts of U.S.: Study

Women aged 75 and younger are dying at higher rates than previous years.

There is compelling evidence from a new study that the expectancy for some U.S. women is falling, a disturbing trend that experts can’t explain. The study found that women aged 75 and younger are dying at higher rates than previous years in nearly half of the nation’s counties.  many of the women lived in rural areas and in the West and South. For men, life expectancy has held steady or improved in nearly all counties.




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Seniors in Sun City, Arizona

Sun City, Arizona

In 1960 in the U.S., the average life expectancy for all races and sexes was 69.7 years.  In 2010, the average life expectancy increased to 78.7 years.  In 1959, entrepreneur Del Webb built Sun City, Arizona.  Sun City was the first active retirement community for the over-55.  Webb predicted that retirees would flock to a community where they were given more than just a house with a rocking chair in which to sit and wait to die.  (Pics)



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Presidents really don’t age faster: study


“The graying of hair and wrinkling of the skin seen in presidents while they’re in office are normal elements of human aging.”

Presidential wannabes take note: Contrary to the idea that being president speeds up aging, a new study shows that many U.S. presidents have actually lived longer than their peers.


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