This project supplements an ongoing program project on “Improving Health Outcomes for an Aging Population” by analyzing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic downturn on population health and mortality. As significant as the reported mortality statistics from COVID-19 have become, they do not account for undiagnosed cases of COVID-19, the health and mortality costs of deferred or foregone care for other
conditions, or the secondary health effects of economic distress, job loss, and social isolation. Also absent is any understanding of how these wider health effects are influenced by policy responses, notably social distancing requirements at the local and state levels, and their associated effects on business activity. While COVID-19 is
fundamentally a public health crisis, focusing exclusively on its direct health effects, without accounting for the impact on the health care system and the economy -- and in turn the economy’s impact on health, provides an incomplete understanding of the pandemic’s overall impact on health and wellbeing. The goal of this supplement
is to engage a small network of economic scholars to analyze near real-time data on health and mortality, and to begin to unravel these indirect and secondary health implications of the pandemic. The supplement’s aimsencompass three categories of analysis on the secondary impact of the pandemic on health and mortality: (1)other health conditions affected indirectly by the pandemic, and how both the direct and indirect health impacts
vary across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic groups; (2) the dramatic economic downturn of the pandemic and the distinct impact of economic conditions on health and mortality; and (3) the social distancing policy response of different communities and states, and its relationship to economic conditions, health and mortality at the local and state levels.