Labour’s COVID-19 cure proves exorbitant

Barry Brill, lawyer, former cabinet minister, captain of industry, formidable student of public policy and chairman of the NZCSC, thought back in March the impact of the Level-4 lock-down cure would be about 30 times worse than the disease itself. Real data now shows it was 190 times worse. It prevented perhaps 1000 deaths at a cost of $NZ8.5m for each year of life saved, which was a startling increase in the usually accepted value of $NZ45,000 for a Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY).

The Australian BUSINESS REVIEW reports:

New Zealand’s hard lockdown policy is thought to have prevented the deaths of 1000 people at a cost of $NZ8.5m ($7.8m) for each year of life saved, according to a new analysis casting doubt on the effectiveness of Victoria’s extended shutdown.

Dr [Martin] Lally’s analysis put the cost of the coronavirus pandemic to New Zealand in terms of GDP at $NZ87bn, to which the decision to have a hard lockdown contributed $NZ22bn.

Main points from Lally’s analysis

  • Eradication strategy may have saved 1,000 lives
  • Due to advanced age and existing conditions the likely number of QALYs is only 2,445
  • GDP loss is $87 billion
  • GDP loss due to lock-downs rather than mitigation is perhaps $22b
  • Our GDP loss values these QALYs at $8.5 million each (190 times the pre-COVID-19 value)
  • The current value of a QALY is $45,000

His conclusion

He concludes that the cost of our suppression rather than a milder mitigation policy was vastly in excess of and dramatically inconsistent with long-established views about the value of a QALY.

I agree with Kiwiblog that a Royal Commission into our COVID-19 response is urgently needed. Let experts evaluate, together with a public consultation, whether our response could be improved so next time our leaders are better informed.

Next Friday Dr Lally, of Capital Financial Consultants, will speak at a Victoria University seminar on New Zealand’s lockdown using his revised paper on the costs and benefits of a COVID-19 lockdown.


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