According to a new study from France, COVID-19 prevention strategies are associated with far less burdens on the economy than containment strategies. As noted by the Molinari Economic Institute, The economic damage is nearly three times greater if governments do not rely on eliminating the virus in the country as quickly as possible – not to mention much higher death rates for strategies aimed solely at controlling the virus.
For the study, economists compared 13 countries with each other: on the one hand, the top ten economies, and on the other hand, the OECD countries that have relied on non-Covid strategies or similar approaches. Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea are used as references. Both data on the state of the economy and health data from the past twelve months were evaluated.
The results contradict the opinion also prevailing in France that when fighting viruses, one has to choose between protecting the economy and protecting human life, as scientists now say. Overall, gross national product (GNP) in Covid-free countries decreased by about 1.2 percent in 2020, in other states by 3.3 percent.
South Korea, New Zealand and Australia recorded the least losses in economic growth, as economic output contracted by 1 to 3 percent. Only the economies of Sweden and Switzerland have been affected by the epidemic to a similar extent, with performance there declining by 3%. However, the number of Covid deaths in both countries is about 800 per million people, which is several times higher than in countries free of Covid. In New Zealand the number was about five deaths per million people, in Australia about 35 and in South Korea about 33.
Far fewer people have died in countries where there is no Covid
In Germany, the number of deaths was much higher at around 400 per million inhabitants, as economic output decreased by 5%. In France, every 1,000 out of a million people died, and economic output fell by a good 8%.
The scientists concluded that “Zero-Covid is the best strategy to fight the epidemic” – their term “zero Covid” closely coincides with what is understood in Germany as “no Covid”. Economists are now calling, among other things, for regional pilot tests in France, where the approach to fighting the pandemic is being firmly and permanently taken – rather than managing the pandemic in a way that does not only burden the health system.
The study from France confirms that “the continuous containment of the virus not only protects health, but also leads to better economic development,” said Clemens Voest, president of the Ifo Munich Institute. Fuest is a vocal supporter of the No-Covid appeal, which is being carried out by doctors and economists in Germany.