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

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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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