David Cutler Discusses the Economic Cost of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than 240,000 deaths in the United States, a sharp decline in economic activity, anxiety and depression for many individuals, and difficult-to-predict long-term health costs for those who survive serious infections. NBER Research Associates David Cutler and Lawrence Summers of Harvard University translate all of these consequences into economic terms. Their calculations use estimates of the value of a statistical life that federal agencies apply in cost-benefit analysis, as well as estimates of the economic costs of anxiety. Their findings suggest a total cost of roughly $16 trillion, more than three quarters of annual gross domestic product. Cutler describes these results in the video above.