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Around the world, political leaders trying to cope with the coronavirus pandemic are making calculations centered around the question: How many deaths are acceptable, as weighed against millions of jobs lost and trillions of dollars of economic output foregone? What's your view?

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Human lives will always be more valuable than money, period. A country with a hardly-affected economy but with a decimated population will have a harder time to rebuild than a country with a struggling economy but with a still strong work force.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Numerically or quantitatively, I think that an acceptable death toll may be around 10,000 in Japan. It's the average number of seasonal/annual flu victims (or one of H1N1 type). Unfortunately much contrary to Covid-19, the flu's impact on human life is underestimated or under-reported.

There's also a qualitative dimension involving ethical issues; whether one' life should outweigh the other due to age or health condition. Under emergency, choice and priority for life-saving are inevitable to make.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The fact that such a question is even being asked publicly is a sign of how bad the situation is around the world. Under "normal" circumstances, just the thought of finding any number of deaths being "acceptable" would be horrendous. But these are not normal circumstances and health workers around the world are having to make these impossible decisions every hour, every day, for weeks and months at a stretch. The sad reality is that while this happens, politicians in many countries are arriving (secretly or openly) at "acceptable death counts" based not just on the economic factors, but more on the consequences of their actions/choices on their own political futures. Most of the discourse in political circles about economics centers around the long term impact of decisions taken now on the political ramifications in the future. And that is why the crisis has gone completely out of control in so many countries. Japan may be looking at a very bleak future if the country's leaders don't step up to this challenge and take decisive action, without thinking about saving their own careers or protecting other vested interests... The true cost of human life being lost at such a global scale can never be accurately calculated. Only time will tell what is the wider impact of this unprecedented crisis on human society. My view is that this is one of those once in a millennium events that is changing the world forever. Economic numbers and job losses will be overwhelmed by the unfathomable social turbulence that we are all hurtling towards.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Seems people avoid answering this questions. The answer "even one death is unacceptable" is simply avoiding addressing the problem by passing on to others (who can be later blamed) or to fate.

And such questions are not new to us. They are asked everyday - always have been. For example, it's possible to build a car that will virtually guarantee no fatalities in a crash. Why haven't they done it? Because it will be expensive. Nobody is willing/able to pay the cost.

And it's not, as some like to portray it, a question of concern for human life vs greed. Economics and money are essential to life. What is gained if you save 100 lives from Covid-19, but kill 10,000 in the resulting poverty?

There is no answer to the question posed here, but I wish people would consider all the ramifications at least. Too many decisions are based on fear of one virus, with no consideration given to how much more dangerous a ruined economy might be to human life.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Zero level of deaths would be the only acceptable one but in the absence as many saved as possible.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ask this guy. He WAS at the forefront of asking this very question.

Was. He died of Covid over the weekend.

https://www.time24.news/n24/2020/03/26-year-old-imf-employee-dies-in-the-united-states.html

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ask this guy. He WAS at the forefront of asking this very question. Was. He died of Covid over the weekend.

That doesn't invalidate the points he was trying to make. In fact, economic issues will disproportionately kill the poor and children. Covid-19 disproportionately kills older people, rich and poor. So it's not surprising the the people who make the decisions (mostly wealthy) favor shutting down the economy. They can survive an economic train wreck, even profit from it. On the other hand, they have little defense against Covid-19.

The poor, meanwhile, are far more likely to die from hunger and poverty than they are from Covid-19.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Here's another question I have about this thread, if countries do surpass their acceptable death count, then what? Enforce even stricter measures? In my humble opinion, they should've gone the whole way in the very beginning. Sure, it'll scare a lot of people and businesses but hey, at least there's less casualties

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think before any world leader asks this question, they should agree to put themselves and their families first in line of people who can contract the disease. You would see it change from "How many deaths are acceptable?" to "No deaths are acceptable" in a split-second.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I think before any world leader asks this question, they should agree to put themselves and their families first in line of people who can contract the disease. You would see it change from "How many deaths are acceptable?" to "No deaths are acceptable" in a split-second.

First of all - the death rate for all of us is 100% sooner or later. Secondly, world leaders and their families tend to have plenty of money and no problem riding out a lockdown. Only poorer people will die from lockdowns. Is that OK, then?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

First, I question "the around the world", absence of group sizing (some/several/...) and present tense.

My view is that the question seems to imply people think there is a choice in between sacrificing people or sacrificing economy. As if, by sacrificing people the economy will be in good shape or by saving people the economy will be destroyed. Wonder where they get the idea that that apply moreover in the current pandemic situation.

It is kind of like the effect of the pandemic should be seen as just people being ill and some die. No consequences, no economic effect, ...

People being ill as a cost for economy, people dying as a cost for economy, having to replace ill people as a cost for economy, health care as a cost for economy, psychological disorder has a cost for economy, mourning and self restrain has a cost for economy, forming new medical staff has a cost for economy, lost of trust for the government has a cost for economy, lost of trust for medical team has a cost for economy, ... and so on.

It is not like if we let a few % of our population die (weak, poor, old, unhealthy, unlucky, medical staff...) we are going to save the economy.

Even quite possible that the countries which will be able to substain a not too damaged version of the current economic model will be the countries which choose to save people and economy by taking the risk to crush the national budget, like Singapore, South Korea, ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That doesn't invalidate the points he was trying to make.

Yes. Yes it does.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Ani said two words in his/her posting that should reverberate in everyone's mind - 'social turbulence'.

I live in Victoria, BC, Canada. On Vancouver Island, where my hometown (and capital city of the province) is located, there have been only a few dozen cases and a small handful of deaths. But the 'social turbulence' is palpable; everything from plexiglass barriers between grocery store checkouts and customers to more than half our city's businesses deciding to close. I can't even go to my favorite pub or sushi restaurant - they're all closed!

And not that it matters all that much, but I have a pair of shoes that recently split along the sole and upper, and every store that sells shoes in this city is closed. I have other shoes, but still, I'd like a new pair of joggers, because this 'social turbulence' means I can't go for my daily run. You can't jog in dress shoes, gumboots or indoor slippers! Of course, I can order them online and wait a week for delivery, but from only one or two stores, and they won't process returns if the shoes don't fit properly, until after they re-open their doors.

'Social turbulence', indeed!

As for the question about how many deaths are 'acceptable' versus millions of jobs lost and trillions of dollars of economic output forgone? In my opinion, we were far too deep into a false sense of security with our consumer-centric economic model. It was time for a correction. Bigger and better is a falisy. Wait six months, and we'll see. Things will change because they will have to change. Like it, or leave it (preferably without dying).

And quit blaming people! Suck it up and do what you can.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That doesn't invalidate the points he was trying to make.

Yes. Yes it does.

Let me explain something. If I say that seatbelts save lives, and then I am killed in an accident (such as a car fire) because my seatbelt has trapped me in the car, that doesn't invalidate the premise. A premise is not invalidated by one incident, no matter who it happens to. You and so many others are acting completely based on fleeting emotion, and allowing policies to be implemented on those emotions. That will cost many more lives than you can currently imagine. Good luck with your art.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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