Questioning the Clampdown – WSJ

WSJ right on time.

«Some number of respiratory deaths will be avoided (really delayed since we all die) but we’ll be spending a lot more than we’ve ever been willing to spend before to avoid flu deaths. Eighty-three percent of our economy will be suppressed to relieve pressure on the 17% represented by health care. … Wouldn’t it make more sense to pour resources into isolating the vulnerable rather than isolating everyone?


But turned on its head here is the 50-year-old “QALY” revolution: the idea of measuring the burden of disease and benefit of health care based on “quality-adjusted life year,” typically valued at $50,000 to $150,000. In the present instance, the cost isn’t just medical intervention (e.g., ventilator use) but the cost of an economywide shutdown to limit the number of candidates for ventilation at any one time. I don’t know what the figure is, but the QALY value we are placing on avoiding Italy-like deaths is surely a high multiple of any figure previously considered realistic.»

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