COVID-19 myopia – it actually costs more to have no acute care protocols in place and more people die as a result

I regularly scan research output from disciplines other than economics that I think impacts on economic matters. On April 17, 2024, a new study from medical researchers at the Burnett Institute in Melbourne, working with staff at the Department of Health and Human Services, in Victoria published a pre-print in The Lancet – Admission Screening Testing of Patients and Staff N95 Masks are Cost-Effective in Reducing COVID-19 Hospital Acquired Infections – which continues to show that public health policy in Australia is failing and part of that failure is the myopia that ‘sound finance’ principles engenders. I have written before about this myopia where governments think they need to cut back on spending because they are ‘short’ of funding and end up having to spend more over time because the initial spending cuts cause massive (and predictable) problems. We have seen this phenomenon in many situations (several cases are cited below). This new research puts an end in my view to the debates about hospital and more general health practices in the Covid era and exposes how the lack of political leadership, a refusal to fund public education, and poor hospital practices – mostly due to alleged funding shortfalls – have turned Australian hospitals into death zones. And while the authorities are telling the public they are ‘saving taxpayers’ money’ the reality is that the pubic outlays to deal with the problems they are creating by this austerity will be multiples of what would be required to implement sound policy now and avoid those longer-term problems.

Read more
Back To Top