Strict Lockdown versus Flexible Social Distance Strategy for COVID-19 Disease: a Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Author(s): Ben W Mol, Jonathan Karnon

Objectives: To balance the costs and effects comparing a strict lockdown versus a flexible social distancing strategy for societies affected by Coronavirus-19 Disease (COVID-19).

Design: Cost-effectiveness analysis.

Participants: We used societal data and COVID-19 mortality rates from the public domain.

Interventions: The intervention was a strict lockdown strategy that has been followed by Denmark. Reference strategy was flexible social distancing policy as was applied by Sweden. We derived mortality rates from COVID-19 national statistics, assumed the expected life years lost from each COVID-19 death to be 11 years and calculated lost life years until 31st August 2020. Expected economic costs were derived from gross domestic productivity (GDP) statistics from each country's official statistics bureau and forecasted GDP. The incremental financial costs of the strict lockdown were calculated by comparing Sweden with Denmark using externally available market information. Calculations were projected per one million inhabitants. In sensitivity analyses we varied the total cost of the lockdown (range -50% to +100%).

Main Outcome Measure: Financial costs per life years saved.

Results: In Sweden, the number of people who died with COVID-19 was 577 per million inhabitants, resulting in an estimated 6,350 life years lost per million inhabitants. In Denmark, where a strict lockdown strategy was installed for months, the number of people dying with COVID-19 was on average 111 per million, resulting in an estimated 1,216 life years per million inhabitants lost. The incremental costs of strict lockdown to save one life year was US$ 137,285, and higher in mos

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