EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Forgotten Numbers: A Closer Look at COVID-19 Non-Fatal Valuations

Thomas Kniesner () and Ryan Sullivan ()
Additional contact information
Ryan Sullivan: Naval Postgraduate School

No 13632, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Our research estimates Covid-19 non-fatal economic losses in the U.S. using detailed data on cumulative cases and hospitalizations from January 22, 2020 to July 27, 2020, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of July 27, 2020, the cumulative confirmed number of cases was about 4.2 million with almost 300,000 of them entailing hospitalizations. Due to data collection limitations the confirmed totals reported by the CDC under-count the actual number of cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. Using standard assumptions provided by the CDC, we estimate that as of July 27, 2020, the actual number of cumulative Covid-19 cases in the U.S. is about 47 million with almost 1 million involving hospitalizations. Applying value per statistical life (VSL) and relative severity/injury estimates from the Department of Transportation (DOT), we estimate an overall non-fatal unadjusted valuation of $2.2 trillion for the U.S. with a weighted average value of about $46,000 per case. This is almost 40% higher than the total valuation of $1.6 trillion (using about $11 million VSL from the DOT) for all approximately 147,000 Covid-19 fatalities. We also show a variety of estimates that adjust the non-fatal valuations by the dreaded and uncertainty aspect of Covid-19, age, income, and a factor related to fatality categorization. The adjustments show current overall non-fatal valuations ranging from about $1.5 trillion to about $9.6 trillion. Finally, we use CDC forecast data to estimate non-fatal valuations through November 2020, and find that the overall cumulative valuation increases from about $2.2 trillion to about $5.7 trillion or to about 30 percent of GDP. Because of the larger numbers of cases involved our calculations imply that non-fatal infections are as economically serious in the aggregate as ultimately fatal infections.

Keywords: value of a statistical injury; VSI; value of a statistical life; VSL; COVID-19; pandemic; willingness to pay; benefit-cost analysis; CDC (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 J17 J28 H51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37 pages
Date: 2020-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-lma and nep-tre
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Special Issue: Valuation and Risk Perceptions of the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020, 61(2), 155-176

Downloads: (external link)
http://ftp.iza.org/dp13632.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: The forgotten numbers: A closer look at COVID-19 non-fatal valuations (2020) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13632

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA) IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Holger Hinte ().

 
Page updated 2021-04-08
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13632