The High Long Term Cost of Trump’s Failed Pandemic Response

Written by SK Ashby

Right now, the most immediate way we can judge the cost of Trump's failed response to the coronavirus pandemic is by considering the high death toll which stands at over 215,000 as of today alongside budget deficit that could top $4 trillion.

That's what we can see right in front of us, but the long term cost could be staggeringly high over the next decade of this study is any indication.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the pandemic could cost us $16 trillion over the next ten years. A significant portion of the cost stems from people who survived infection but have long term side effects and conditions we still don't fully understand.

From CBS News:

About half of the price tag, $8.6 trillion, is driven by the long-term health implications and costs for those who contract COVID-19, as well as statistical estimate for the loss of life.

Based on the current death rate, the coronavirus pandemic is likely to lead to a total of 625,000 premature deaths in the United States, the study estimates. It pegs the total cost to society of each death at $7 million, citing a review from earlier this year of statistical and health policy research on the matter.

The study also estimates $2.6 trillion in long-term additional costs from people who survive COVID-19 but have resulting long-term health damage. Mental health costs because of the pandemic will rise by $1.6 trillion, the authors estimate.

The rest of the coronavirus' economic toll comes in the form of reduced economic output, which the authors peg at $7.6 trillion, relying on previous estimate from the Congressional Budget Office. The drop in GDP is the cumulative impact of how much lower the GDP will be 10 years from now, versus where it would have been if the coronavirus had never spread.

This study could over or even underestimate the cost of the pandemic depending on what happens during this upcoming winter season, but if it's even close to accurate it paints our current situation in a different light.

Deaths from COVID infection have slowed because better treatment is available, but coronavirus infections in general are quickly approaching 8 million in total, currently sitting at 7.84 million.

Looking at crowds of people gathered in bars or at one of Trump's Klan rallies because being infected won't necessarily kill them should be seen as seas of people adding to the long term cost of the pandemic. Because even if they aren't going to die, it could impact everyone's health in unforeseen ways. I shake my own head at people near my age or younger risking it all just for a Bud Light. We don't know what it could mean for them five years from now; ten years from now.

I don't think we can appropriately respond to this without some form of nationalized system for treatment similar to the funds set aside to treat first responders after the 9/11 attacks. But at this point we're talking about millions of people and it really underscores our need for universal health care in general. Our current system is constraining the economy and quality of life in ways we can't sustain forever.

We've barely glimpsed the beginning of climate change related disasters and their costs and Trump's regime has settled this on top of whatever comes next. Voting for Democrats is a matter of basic survival.