"I fully recognize that looking at human life from an economic perspective can seem harsh, almost inhumane. Can we really stand back and watch an elderly person “drown” as their lungs fill up with fluid, and say “Sorry, we are not spending money on more ventilators, because it is not cost-effective”?
However, it is not straightforward. There are currently deaths, and disability, directly caused by shifting virtually the entire focus of the health service towards Covid-19.
Hip replacements are also being postponed and other, hugely beneficial interventions are not being done. Those with heart disease and diabetes are not being treated. People are not having operations that they would have. Many are not immediately lifesaving, but cancer patients are not receiving chemotherapy. Those awaiting implantable defibrillators are not having them – and some will die as a result.
Elderly people, with no support, may simply die of starvation in their own homes. Jobs will be lost, companies are going bust, suicides will go up. Psychosocial stress will be immense.
I care for patients in intermediate care, two of whom we sent to hospital last week, with non-Covid related illness. They were both sent straight back, they both died. They were elderly, they were ill, but in normal circumstances they would have been admitted and, hopefully, successfully treated.
Ambulance crews have been instructed to keep people at home, or in care homes, if at all possible. Some of them will die as a result. These are what I call the ‘because of Covid-19’ related deaths."
Then there are those abused women, and children, trapped at home with their abusers.
In short, this is very much not a zero-sum game of life saved v money. There is significant harm being done. Longer-term harms will inevitably occur from job losses, loss of income, and suchlike. Economy and health do not exist in isolation."
Precisely the type of discussion that seemed to me to be missing from all the arguments for a lockdown.