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Coronasplurge April 14, 2020

Posted by geoff in COVID-19, News.

You realize that if the United States has 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, which seems unlikely, the $2 trillion relief package will amount to $20 million/death. Economists might value the average human life at ~$10 million, but since supposed 2/3 of the casualties would likely have passed away within a year anyway, you’d have to downgrade that number to around $3.3 million.

So you’re spending $20 million for each $3.3 million death. If you consider that the economic cost of the shutdown is almost certainly larger than size of the relief package, the deal gets worse.

That’s not a great measure of the worth of the relief package, since you’d really rather count dollars spent vs. lives saved. But it’s pretty clear that we have no idea what that number is, so actual deaths is the only metric we’ve got.

But even if it saved a million lives, the relief package would be $2 million per life.


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