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COVID-19 and Triage - A Public Health Economic Analysis of a Scarcity Problem

Bernard Gilroy (), Marie Wegener () and Christian Peitz ()
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Marie Wegener: Paderborn University
Christian Peitz: Paderborn University

No 147, Working Papers CIE from Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics

Abstract: With the outbreak of the corona pandemic in Wuhan in 2019 and in early 2020 in Europe, the political and media discourse has been dominated by many health economic issues and discussions, ranging from systemic relevance to multiple shortages of vaccines, nurses, testing capacity and medical protective equipment. In the event of a scarcity of resources, the German Ethics Council1 recommended preparing for a possible “triage scenario” at the beginning of the pandemic.2 The aim of the article is to find out how advanced the current burden on intensive care units in Germany is due to the Corona pandemic and how close Germany is to a possible triage scenario. Therefore, the situation of German hospitals over a period of 30 years prior to the Corona pandemic is examined, and a comparison with OECD nations is made. This is followed by an analysis of the situation during Corona (with a focus on intensive care bed utilisation). Finally, the development and application of the triage scenario is examined, followed up by a brief discussion to what extent a triage system is compatible with the welfare state.

JEL-codes: E10 I11 J01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-11
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