The ongoing wellbeing loss from covid-policies. Sign the protest letter!

The UK Office of National Statistics data on the wellbeing of the British population shows a unprecedented drop of about 10% in average wellbeing in the UK since March 2020. Anxiety levels almost doubled, slowly returning to normal, but wellbeing remains low as people are prevented from enjoying life and looking after their own livelihoods.

Some things to take note of:

1. The drop of 0.7 (from 7.7 to 7.0) in life-satisfaction is slightly higher than what I predicted it to be in early April, when I though it would be 0.5.  It is still the biggest well-recorded drop in UK wellbeing we know of (the ONS data is based on tens of thousands of respondents, so quite precise). For the UK population as a whole of 66 million, this means 2 million WELLBYs are lost every month of this crisis. By contrast, 50,000 deaths of people with 5 more good years to live costs about 1.5 million WELLBY.

2. What is driving the drop in life-satisfaction is largely the loss of social contacts and loss of activities during the covid-crisis. The UK state-of-life study found no change for those still able to go to their “essential” job, but a large one for those forced to work from home or no longer able to work at all. Humans need close physical and social contact with others and become depressed and sad without it. This has been a central finding in the wellbeing literature for decades. As the Xhosa in South Africa say “people are people through other people”.

3. Think about all the things driving this massive wellbeing loss: the anxiety of everyone regarding the virus; the inability to hug family and friends; the inability for people to visit others; the loss of a social group at work, at sports, and in the pubs; postponed marriages; destroyed businesses and jobs; cancelled sports events, parties, theaters, dates, and music events. It has basically been a war on joy and companionship, devastating for people’s wellbeing and thus, also, their health.

What can you do to avoid a similar ongoing wellbeing disaster in Australia? Join the 183 others who have so far signed our open letter to the Australian prime-minister to open up borders and let life return to normality. Instigators of that letter included Graham Young, and Gigi Foster who have both done their best to warn the population of the huge loss to Australia from following the failed policies of the UK and Europe. The mainland Europeans have now woken up to their mistake, with President Macron of France bluntly admitting that France cannot afford a second lock-down because the first one was an economic and social disaster, and so France will simply ride out a second wave if there is one.  


Btw, I had to generate the graph above myself because the ONS stopped bringing out graphs showing the progression of life-satisfaction from 2011-till-now exactly in March 2020. From then on, the updates showed what happened since March 2020, meaning you cant see the huge downturn in wellbeing in those updates. I dont know why they did this, but I have my suspicions.

On the quiet, we are indeed seeing how the loss of revenue of governments mean cuts to the very poorest in the world. While populations live out their fantasy of a risk-free world, the poor suffer what they must.

This entry was posted in Coronavirus crisis, Death and taxes, Health, Life, Politics - international, Politics - national, Public and Private Goods, Science, Social. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to The ongoing wellbeing loss from covid-policies. Sign the protest letter!

  1. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    Now let us see what is the greatest cost in a recession well anyway in the early 80s one and the early 90s one.
    Yep suicides. They went like a rocket
    What happen this time.
    Well nuttin. The government spokeswomen was astonished . Possibly listened to Paul who was wrong.
    One possible reason is the stability of household incomes due to the government.

    what else has happened

    Well doctors surgeries are still looking for people suffering from the Flu.

    Never mind we can rely on Paul still telling us he was right and everyone else was wrong.

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      Homer, can you please try to be less irritating.

      • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

        gosh Nick it must be irritating to bring up facts that clearly show the author is wrong and won’t admit it.

        Very much like they do at Catallaxy.

        • you were bringing up facts? I missed those first time round and even second time round. Third time lucky? Let me look at your initial reply again
          Nah, I am still reading a meaningless rant.

          • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

            Facts such as no increase in suicides for a start which you always ignore and always will.

            These have always been the greatest cost of recessions. Of course you would know that if you had ever examined the topic.

            Let us not forget the lack of flu and deaths associated with that.

            Meanwhile catallaxy on

            • paul frijters says:

              why don’t you look up what I have been saying about suicides in my previous posts before you claim I said something that is now proven wrong? Basically very little….my main angle has always been the health costs of reduced public services and the mental health costs of unemployment and loneliness.

              So you are just rambling.

  2. Tony says:

    Hi Paul,

    I think the political reality in Australia at the moment is the borders won’t open, incoming travelers numbers have been halved. This is a shame as we need those international students at our unis.

    I don’t see people in WA, NT etc opening to higher covid states. I have come to the conclusion the main option rifht now is to eliminate the virus. Freedom from the virus is economic freedom and liberty.

    This may not always the case. Better treatments may reduce covid to a case of the sniffles in a few months hopefully.

    • paul frijters says:

      yes, politically speaking you seem to be right. But its a very costly strategy in terms of physical health, mental health, lives, freedom, joy, the future of our children, and the dignity of the population.

      And this is not the path of freedom. There is always the next risk that can be dressed up as a sufficient excuse to stop living and turn whole states into a prison ward. The next virus, a mutation in one of the existing set of viruses, some other risk. Living like a frightened trapped mouse can become a habit. A very, very costly habit.

      • Tony says:

        yes, politically speaking you seem to be right. But its a very costly strategy in terms of physical health, mental health, lives, freedom, joy, the future of our children, and the dignity of the population.

        I think we can all agree that pro-growth policies have beneficial effects on life, liberty, education, health and general well being. Lock-downs are bad for growth, and to the extent we can go about our business wearing masks and social distancing, the less the damage.

        That said, I am more pro-lockdown for particular communities these days. Imagine the virus got into a remote First Nations village with appalling high co-morbidity levels,no medical staff and hundreds of kilometres away from a hospital… would be utterly devastating.

        It is interesting the American response to the virus, it seems their polity has a much higher tolerance of carnage (as also seen in the gun control debate). Perhaps this is not a bad thing for Australia, that we are cannibalising our wealth as a trade off for health. I think there are some positive second order effects for Australia, the cultural solidarity and enhanced political trust as a result of this pandemic and public policy response. In contrast, the USA is more politically fractured than ever, there is considerable distrust between citizens.

        And this is not the path of freedom. There is always the next risk that can be dressed up as a sufficient excuse to stop living and turn whole states into a prison ward. The next virus, a mutation in one of the existing set of viruses, some other risk. Living like a frightened trapped mouse can become a habit. A very, very costly habit.

        Currently, the CDC is saying the IFR is 0.65%. I think when we can get that down to 0.1-0.2% the risk-benefit is better for opening up. That said, the Chief Health officer of Victoria was saying the hospitalization rate is 10-20% of recorded cases. Even at the lower rate, I would say that people are acting logically by avoiding hospital. There is also the issue of long term damage. I know one person who has a persistent cough many months post virus, that cough is now resulting in physical lesions to the lung tissue. There was also some recently published data that perhaps 3% of detected cases are having heart attacks and maybe one-third having damage to the heart muscle, despite no previous damage, see news coverage here. These long term damages will have to be mitigated before confidence can be restored.

        Ok, so how do we avoid this situation in the future? I think the most obvious source of new pandemics will be from influenza viruses. We have several universal vaccines in testing, if safe and effective, we need to make sure these get to market. There needs to a mandate that all humans and livestock are vaccinated. From there, (with 99.9% confidence) we can say influenza is not a problem.

        Alright, so what about other viral or bacterial pandemics? We probably need to do a few things. I would suggest using gene drives to genetically modify several million cattle to produce human antibodies. Every pandemic we can hyperimmunise cattle and within 12 weeks have antibodies from the milk and plasma to provide prophylactic protection for Australians.

        • paul frijters says:

          “devastating”, “carnage”, etc. I apply these to the lockdowns and eradication strategies pursued right now.

          People do continue to misrepresent and exaggerate death threats from this virus. As I keep saying, no reasonably sized country in the world has a death rate of over 0.1% and if you look at excess deaths, 0.05% over the previous flu seasons is a high-end possibility. That’s 2 weeks of normal deaths.

          It’s not remote communities that are most at risk. Dense neighbourhoods in cities with poorly ventilated houses and lots of old people with co-morbidites are the biggest risk areas. Even there, 0.2% is a very high number. You lose more than that every month of lock downs if you add the economic damage to the loneliness. So “carnage” is what is being self-inflicted right now, not what the virus threatens.

  3. Jerry Roberts says:

    Agree with you Paul. I’m in Western Australia where no politician has ever lost votes by playing on the State’s parochialism and the government’s border closure enjoys popular support. I find myself in a minority of people more worried by the spread of authoritarian government than by the spread of the latest virus (about which medical science appears to know not much).

  4. Aaron says:

    It appears most governments (Sweden being a notable exception) have made the decision to disregard well being entirely and simply do whatever it takes to reduce COVID deaths. There is wide ranging support in the population for this as well, so the politicians almost have no choice but to continue this. I think they’re waiting for a vaccine and want to hold on until then. Australia seems particularly hopeless to me. They aren’t even letting their own citizens leave the country. It’s a prison nation. Sounds quite miserable if you ask me.

  5. derrida derider says:

    But Paul we don’t have a counterfactual do we?

    WHATEVER the response, the loss of wellbeing from a major pandemic was always going to be massive. That we in fact have suffered such a loss is no criticism of the actual response. It’s not as though those who tried “business as usual” haven’t also suffered economic and other losses.

    • Ken,

      1. The wellbeing data on different countries is yet to come in, but I do expect there to be a wide variation across countries depending on their policies. Indeed, I expect the wellbeing dip and bounce to be very directly related to social distancing and lock downs, which vary tremendously over countries. So I disagree with the idea that all countries have suffered equally.
      2. For humanity as a whole the counterfactual is what we did with the other flu-viruses and the like. The death tolls are not that dissimilar.
      3. In terms of economic and social losses, the picture is becoming clearer, though mainly for countries that seem close to herd immunity because for them, this thing is “done”. For all the other countries, there is the high likelihood of repeated waves and if they react as they did first time round, their cumulative loss will be much higher (Australia is in that camp). Again there is actually a lot of variation though so no, its not true the loss is the same everywhere though causality is always hard to prove with this type of thing.
      4. There are the choices made in the past and there are choices to make in the future. One can always be fatalistic about the past and say “but that’s what we did so there was no choice”. I am more hopeful about humanity than that, but of course no-one can change the past.
      5. We can make different choices about the future (or are you saying you are an automaton with no will to resist the fear at all?). I am openly saying we could and should make other choices right now. We should confront the fear and return to normal life as much as possible. It is hugely damaging to our health and wealth to continue these futile suppression and elimination strategies.

    • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

      The counter factual is very problematic.

      People were wearing masks and buying up at Supermarkets well before anyone thought of a lockdown.
      Imagine what the trade Unions, TV program, talk back radio would make of the virus growing exponentially. The ICU beds being scarce.
      consumers would react to this be buying less surely because of fear of going out.
      Employers would be under immense pressure to have people working from home and not at the office.
      I could go on but you get the point.

      you would have a recession but without the massive increase in government payments.

      household incomes would contract .

      In short you would have a recession as usual. The costs would be high

      • Tony says:

        Imagine what the trade Unions, TV program, talk back radio would make of the virus growing exponentially. The ICU beds being scarce.
        consumers would react to this be buying less surely because of fear of going out.

        This basically.

        If you look at the situation that is occurring right now. About 85 hospitalisations on 1800 active infections. Yes ‘only’ 5% hospitalization rate on detected cases right now, but wait another few days/weeks as another 5-15% of existing cases require hospitals. As happened in the first wave, more people being infected than recovering each day.

        In the ‘Let It Rip’ scenario, once ICU beds are full, people will isolate, even those less at risk. At my workplace, at the start of the pandemic, management refused to let people work from home…. employees said ‘screw this’ and pressured their direct managers to let them WFH… and they did.

        I mean in the end people aren’t stupid. If they work in an office of 100 people, they know 10% of their colleagues will go to hospital and possibly at least one will die. If you are in Florida, Texas or California right now, you know it is just a matter of time before one of your co-workers comes to your poorly ventilated office.

        Again, not saying mass lockdowns are the best way all the time. Everyone in public, being double masked, washing their hands every hour, social distancing, you can keep the economy going with less risk.

        • Tony ‘let it rip’ vs ‘mandated mass lockdowns’ seems a false opposition, potentially misleading and unhelpful.

          A better counterfactual is Japan about 130 million, crowded, lots of old people , no mandated national lockdowns , yet less than a thousand deaths ( and Ive seen no reports of people who have recovered but have serious longterm damage either).

          In short it could be that almost all of the benefit is in the ’70 percent’ that is individual behavioral changes but much of the harm is in the ”30 percent’ that is government responses.

          • Tony says:

            Tony ‘let it rip’ vs ‘mandated mass lockdowns’ seems a false opposition, potentially misleading and unhelpful.

            Yes, a fair point. Indeed, the Stage 3 restrictions in Melbourne at the moment are less of a lockdown (I can still do the things I was doing two weeks ago – go to work, the shops, exercise, get my hair cut etc). In theory, I can go and do my personal errands across the city, though I am afraid I will cop a $1600 fine if I travel too far from my residential address.

            I would argue that mandated masking (like two masks, one N95 with a cloth or surgical mask over the top, perhaps plus eyewear + application education) is a minimal loss of freedom. Minimal because I am forced to wear clothes already or be arrested. In contrast, the enhanced freedom from mandatory mask wearing (perhaps we can go back to the gym etc) are worth the trade off.

            A better counterfactual is Japan about 130 million, crowded, lots of old people , no mandated national lockdowns , yet less than a thousand deaths ( and Ive seen no reports of people who have recovered but have serious longterm damage either).

            South Korea may also fall into this category. I find this disease perplexing to model. Is Japan’s success a policy factor? Or is it something inbuilt, maybe their high density living is cleaner and better ventilated? Or is it diet related, maybe they have anti-inflammatory diets and not vitamin D? The Japanese have different drugs available to them like favipiravir, that perhaps we do not. Of course, it could also be many things we cannot replicate, the immunological genetics of South Korea and Japan are a bit different to Australia. Common coronaviruses may be more endemic or they have more exposure to animal coronaviruses. Perhaps the Japanese variant of BCG is more protective and we cannot now replicate that policy – given it is administered at birth.

            • Agree that masks are a lot less burdensome than ‘dont move’ :-)
              Yes have wondered about the same things re Japan.
              From what I’ve read it’s not density per say that matters rather it’s more the number of people per residence that matters. I think very crowded individual houses are rare in Japan.
              Obesity is extremely rare in Japan , could be a factor.
              They also walk a fair bit . And the day to day diet is good (and delicious ).
              They probably have had more exposure to related corona viruses. There’s much to indicate that resistance immunity involves far more than just antibodies.

              It also seems very possible that we are really seeing is a kind of null hypothesis.

              Re BCG and immunity that is a fascinating thought- my wife’s bladder cancer was successfully treated with BCG .

            • Re Japan and government policy.
              I really doubt that Japan’s government has much to do with it-my wife less than two years ago was doing research for an exhibition and went to the epicentre of Fukushima ( eerie place) most of the residents are still stuck in , temporary housing .

              • Tony says:

                That is very interesting regarding Japan. Without having been there, it is hard for the rest of us to spot the cultural differences that lead to different outcomes.

                Re: multiple null hypotheses, I think that is hopefully true. How to test it though? Come next pandemic, you don’t really want to test just one!

                Re: food – agree Japanese food is delicious, I have only had it once in the last 5 months due to isolation.

                Re: BCG – very sorry to hear about your wife, but glad her cancer was treatable. Hopefully, one that comes out of this pandemic is the off-target effects vaccines can have. I have been vaguely aware of the ‘trained immunity’ concept for some years… in hindsight I wish I had pushed harder for say, an adult vaccine schedule that boosts the immune system non-specifically against viruses.

        • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

          So you are saying there will be a lockdown but without any government support.

          That is the worse of both worlds

          • “ So you are saying there will be a lockdown but without any government support.”

            • Tony says:

              I think he is suggesting that: you have a pandemic with lots of injury and death, and then the population at large isolates themselves anyway.

              That isolation then has similar negative effects, but perhaps worse if the government was providing welfare payments (Jobkeeper/Jobseeker etc).

            • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

              you are saying there will be an informal lockdown which means no government support re Job keeper or seeker etc

          • If that’s what you mean , no.
            ( still cannot follow your reasoning, it seems a tad circular)

            If support is needed then it’s needed regardless of the reason.

        • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

          If people are not stupid then the let it rip strategy is not a strategy.
          Even worse the pollies are struggling to keep up with the punters who will quite possibly punish them severely for not doing anything until they reacted.

          It also means the counterfactual is a lockdown, informal at first and then made formal by public pressure.

          The ambulance chasing law firms would be the big winners from no formal lockdown

  6. Tony that thread is too squeezed
    Re BCG as a cancer treatment. Fascinating things are,

    it dates to about the eighties, it was for years the only immune therapy for cancer.

    for decades nobody had any idea why it caused the immune system to suddenly ‘eat ‘ cancer cells
    and strangest of all ,none of the experts we know at RPA know ,
    who it was who first had the idea that a vaccine against TB could work as a cancer treatment,
    or why they thought it worth a try.

    Re Japan my experience is not much more than two weeks staying in a nice flat in Kyoto and walking around the miles and miles of narrow streets and viewing some of the approximately 3000 temples ,gardens and odd little museums tucked away in quiet corners ( as well as eating lots of great food).

    However some of our friends speak fluent Japanese and one of them owns a house in Japan.

    Two aspects of old age in Japan may be relevant.
    Many very old people keep on living independently in their own home till virtually the end.
    A very big problem for them is loneliness, lack of regular contact with almost anybody.

    Another theme of the exhibition my wife was working on was robotics- the Japanese are very keen on robots, don’t see them as sinister rather as potential companions particularly for old people .

  7. Breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccine could see it ready by October

    It also seems increasingly clear that herd immunity is also real.
    Can but pray.

  8. This story makes me think that elimination is simply not real world possible , the virus is too ‘slippery’

    Also believe that containment-suppression is unlikely to work for long periods that perfectly either, but given that this could go on for god knows how long, it’s seems the best we can do .

    Just as all through last summer we could only do what we could to protect our community, and pray for rain,
    I pray for a vaccine, but if that’s not forthcoming then I can only pray for herd immunity.

    What I ”want”seems irrelevant.

    • that Argentinian story sounds a bit fishy to me. He might tell his wife and his boss that he’s been at sea for 35 consecutive days, but who knows what he was really up to?
      Even suppression is a fairly hopeless endeavour, particularly when so few people have had this virus. Its like trying to put out many small fires when there is a lot of dry wood around, trusting no sparks will come in the future.

  9. Paul the AFRs summing of the current situation :

    This week the Crossroads Hotel, one of the first Sydney watering holes on the highway inbound from virus-hit Melbourne, transformed from local pub to national metaphor. Which way is Australia heading as it manages a global pandemic which has infected 14 million people and killed almost 600,000?

    Up in Queensland, the winter holiday amusement park attractions are busy. Down in Melbourne, intensive-care beds are being prepared for the worst. Virus hotspots there range from the tower block homes of the lowest-paid to posh city law offices.

    The Sydney pub is now said to be a symbol of a successful NSW strategy of suppression: containing and managing a COVID-19 spot outbreak by impressively tracking and tracing thousands of potentially infected people around Sydney, even if the virus is never totally eradicated.

    But Melbourne’s much harder initial lockdown – and the threats by the besieged Andrews government to lock down even harder in coming days –has instead become a symbol of the futility of a strategy of elimination, so easily undone by blunders in handling high-risk people like quarantined international arrivals.
    ( my emphasis)

    That allowed the virus to infect Melbourne’s suburbs and eventually, via the Hume Highway, the Crossroads Hotel. This weekend, the rising numbers in Victoria now threaten to turn the state’s failed hardline approach into an overall loss of control of the pandemic there. Yet just days ago, state government health officials were still out there talking about an elimination plan.

    The difference between suppression and elimination should be semantic. Elimination is a dividend of a successful suppression strategy based on quarantine, social distancing, personal hygiene, and tracking and testing. With 490 active cases in NSW, 2000 in Victoria, but just handfuls in the other states and territories, elimination is effectively what has been achieved around much of Australia.

    The problem starts if politicians feel compelled to tell voters that they have eliminated the virus for good, when in fact all they have is a suppression strategy that has worked so far – or at least has not been found out yet.

    There is really only good suppression, and suppression done badly. The latter results from blunders that allow this elusive and fast-moving virus, like water, to find its way through careless gaps.

    Good suppression means social discipline at times, and not a few restrictions. It will seem irksome, and the anxiety it creates might suppress some economic activity as well. But better a rapid and agile response to inevitable outbreaks, and conditioning the public to expect them, than promising virus elimination that can only really be achieved with a vaccine.

    It is the same approach being taken across Europe, with the continent reopening for the summer holidays even as new flare-ups are found and dealt with. Eliminating by social control rather than a vaccine would effectively mean scorched earth, eliminating vast swaths of the economy too and destroying health and wellbeing through economic depression – an entirely perverse result.

    With 19 per cent of Australia’s GDP locked down in Melbourne, the city is going to drag back on national recovery, as it is. NSW has largely kept the state open, at the cost of closing the Victorian border, limiting numbers in pubs and restaurants, and banning dancing at weddings.

    But had Victoria been as quick as NSW – which learned hard early lessons from mishandling the cruise ship Ruby Princess – then it too would be putting out scattered fires and not trying to halt mass outbreaks with a stop-start-stop-again lockdown of an entire metropolis.

    A virus that defies eradication means this emergency could go on for a long time, perhaps years. There will be tension between protecting health and the freedoms of an opened economy. But will Australians be asked to pay an extra price to maintain that freedom?

    It’s clear that data and personal tracking and tracing are the keys to managing outbreaks. Pub and restaurant patrons already have to give contact details. And it was genomic testing that tracked patient zero in the Crossroads Hotel cluster back to Melbourne.

    Will it be that some intrusion and lost privacy is the price of keeping Australians free of the virus, and free to work, learn and play as well?

  10. KT2 says:

    Seems like a logic error. Not many qaly or welbys here.
    “Suicide Statistics
    Males aged 85 and older experience the highest age-specific rate of suicide. ”

    And. Tony Bullimore?

  11. murph the surf says:
    A study which includes reviewing the number of years of life lost for men and women in Australia due to early death from Covid 19.

    • Median age of death is still 80 “ slightly lower than that for all causes of death in 2018 (81 years).”
      By May 13 percent of known cases needed hospitalisation, median age for that group was 61.
      Total australian deaths to date are about 125 , a smallish sample size.

      The Guardians reporting seems a tad overemotional.

      A recent study in Wuhan estimates that the percent of asymptomatic infections I.e. were the person showed no ill effect had a lower bound of 50 percent and could be as high as 80 percent.
      Find it curious that more than six months into this there is still no data about the number percent of younger otherwise healthy people who were infected and still have lingering significant problems. After all

    • The guardian in that story also reported the average age for three leading causes of death as being:“coronary heart disease (84 years), dementia (88 years) and stroke (86 years)”

      Australian average life expectancy is about 81 so I guess that those who die of those three leading causes of death , on average ,live longer than most.

      • Nicholas Gruen says:

        There are some fallacies of composition lurking in there methinks.

        Makes it sound like you’d be lucky to get COVID – lengthens your lifespan by at least three years more than the average ;)

        • Fallacies of composition indeed. Makes you wonder if they actually read what they write before they publish.

        • KT2 says:

          Nicholas Gruen 
          July 23, 2020 at 2:39 pm

          “Makes it sound like you’d be lucky to get COVID – lengthens your lifespan by at least three years more than the average ;)”

          Is this the study?
          We jumped from planes without parachutes (and lived to tell the tale)

          Look Before You Leap
          Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial

          BMJ 2018; 363 doi: 
          (Published 13 December 2018)
          Cite this as: 
          BMJ 2018;363:k5094

      • murph the surf says:

        The median ages , not the average.

        • The Covid-19 data was compiled for the AIHW by an infectious disease specialist at the Australian National University, Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, who then conducted a preliminary analysis of that data. Senanayake wrote that the median age at death for Covid-19 was 80 years, slightly lower than that for all causes of death in 2018 (81 years).
          “It is also somewhat lower than many other leading causes of death that commonly occur in older age,” the report said. “The median age at death for Covid-19 was lower than the three leading causes of death – coronary heart disease (84 years), dementia (88 years) and stroke (86 years) and it was also lower than the median age of deaths from pneumonia (89 years) and influenza (82 years).”

          So it seems that if you die from one of the three leading causes of death you are likely to have lived longer than the National average life expectancy would predict.

  12. Nicholas Gruen says:

    From the micro-analysis of Chetty et al

    This spending shock in turn led to losses in business revenue and layoffs of low-income workers at firms that cater to high- income consumers, ultimately reducing their own consumption levels. Because the root cause of the shock appears to be self-isolation driven by health concerns, there is limited capacity to restore economic activity without addressing the virus itself. In particular, we find that state-ordered reopenings of economies have only modest impacts on economic activity; stimulus checks increase spending particularly among low-income households, but very little of the additional spending flows to the businesses most a↵ected by the COVID shock; and loans to small businesses have little impact on employment rates. Our analysis therefore suggests that the only e↵ective approach to mitigating economic hardship in the short run may be to provide benefits to those who have lost their incomes to mitigate consumption losses while public health measures restore consumer confidence and ultimately increase spending.

    So much for the counterfactual.

    • Nicholas
      “BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is introducing a new law compelling meatpackers to employ staff directly in industrial abattoirs rather than sub-contracting to avert further coronavirus outbreaks exacerbated by poor working conditions, a draft law showed on Wednesday.

      German slaughterhouses have faced criticism for the widespread use of sub-contracted migrant workers from eastern Europe, with cramped accommodation and poor oversight suspected of accelerating local coronavirus outbreaks in abattoirs.”

      We are going to have to do the same re all those workers in basically essential high risk industries, that are sub sub contractors and often live in crowded houses.

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