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Esmond Birnie: We must avoid a further lockdown

Sometimes we face agonising dilemmas between terrible alternatives. We should try to avoid getting into such situations. In the UK at present we should avoid an uncontrolled second wave of Covid-19 which kills tens of thousands and also a second general lockdown knocking billions off the economy. How might we evaluate the current lockdown? First of all, there is the undoubted success in terms of lives saved. A death toll of about 850 in Northern Ireland (NI) was grievous but contrasts to the projection made in March that 15,000 might be lost. What about the cost? Given all the ethical and philosophical difficulties relating to trying to put a cash value on a human life I avoid placing a monetary value on the 'benefit' of the lockdown in number of lives saved. What can be done is to measure the implied economic cost per life saved and compare that to the standard NHS/National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline that the cost of treatment should not exceed £30,000 per year of life.

Belfast Telegraph - August 4, 2020

View the full story here: https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus/the-march-2020-lockdown-was-justified-but-we-must-protect-the-economy-from-a-second-one-39420735.html