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比病毒本身更致命的是“新冠萧条”

比病毒本身更致命的是“新冠萧条”

葛继甫(Geoff Colvin) 2021年01月08日
今后几十年里,我们将无法确切知道新冠疫情造成的经济灾难,究竟缩短了多少生命、哪些生命。

新冠疫情带来的经济影响,可能比病毒本身还要致命。

最新发布的一项研究结果显示,最终新冠疫情在美国造成的死亡总人数可能“远远超过与新冠肺炎疾病直接相关的死亡人数……疫情造成的衰退或将危及未来20年的人口健康”。

在由杜克大学(Duke University)、哈佛医学院(Harvard Medical School)和约翰斯•霍普金斯大学商学院(Johns Hopkins University business School)联合撰写的最新研究报告中,重点关注了数百万工人在2020年3月和4月之间突发性失业情况——失业率从近50年来的最低水平,跃升至1948年采用现行衡量体系以来的最高水平。现在,失业率虽有所下降,但仍然处于2008年至2009年金融危机复苏之后的最高水平。

报告作者关注到了失业影响数年后死亡率及人口预期寿命的情况。关于这个问题的现有研究很少,报告作者利用美国劳工统计局(Bureau of Labor Statistics)和美国疾病预防控制中心(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)67年间的失业、预期寿命和死亡率数据进行了自己的分析,以把影响死亡率和人口预期寿命的其他因素剔除,单独分析2020年失业率大飙升的影响。

报告主要发现:在接下来的20年里,和没有疫情、没有高失业率的情况相比,死亡人数将多出137万人,研究人员称,这一数字“令人震惊”。

此外,报告还发现,“过高的死亡率将在很大程度上影响非裔美国人。”报告指出,在未来的20年里,每10万人中非裔美国人的死亡人数将增加32.6人,而美国白人将仅增加24.6人。总体而言,在这段时间内,美国死亡人数将比失业率未飙升的正常情况下增加约3.2%。

这些新发现让决策者所面临的窘境进一步复杂化。封锁等限制措施造成经济损失,但挽救了生命。但是,如果数据证明,经济危机虽然在短期内挽救了生命,但在未来几年也会危机性命,那什么才是正确的解决政策呢?

对此,研究人员强调称,“我们并不认为决策者封锁的做法错误”,相反,政策还应该“加强对最弱势群体的健康和经济支持”。

在美国,这种支持大部分由经济刺激计划、额外失业保险等措施提供。如此看来,这篇报告对于额外死亡率的预测会不会言过其实呢?恰恰相反,已经有其他因素表明,额外死亡率不仅没有夸大,反而可能被低估了。

正面来看,2020年这样迅速逆转的经济衰退是前所未有的。衰退突然袭来,但在几个月内又迅速反弹。现在的经济复苏速度比以往的“衰退-回弹”速度要快得多,对预期寿命的损害得到了一定减轻。此外,研究人员还指出,这是《平价医疗法案》(Affordable Care Act)实施后的第一次衰退(《平价医疗费用法案》是减轻失业对公民福祉影响的关键资源)。

但这场危机潜在的不利因素也相当可怕。研究人员计入风险:新数据显示,封锁期间获得医疗保健的机会有限、预防性护理干预不得不临时中止、雇主提供的医疗保险产生巨大损失、民众对感染和就医的持续性担忧,这些种种因素对死亡率和人口寿命预期的影响,比想象中的还要严重。

报告中新的发现给决策者和我们所有人都提出了另一个挑战:我们知道谁死于新冠,惨痛的数字背后是一个个确切的姓名,由此,在面对事实、奋起反击的过程中,一种强烈的紧迫感被激发出来。但是,在今后几十年里,我们将无法确切知道新冠疫情造成的经济灾难,究竟缩短了多少生命、哪些生命。这种痛苦也一样真实,不应该被忽视、被忘记。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

新冠疫情带来的经济影响,可能比病毒本身还要致命。

最新发布的一项研究结果显示,最终新冠疫情在美国造成的死亡总人数可能“远远超过与新冠肺炎疾病直接相关的死亡人数……疫情造成的衰退或将危及未来20年的人口健康”。

在由杜克大学(Duke University)、哈佛医学院(Harvard Medical School)和约翰斯•霍普金斯大学商学院(Johns Hopkins University business School)联合撰写的最新研究报告中,重点关注了数百万工人在2020年3月和4月之间突发性失业情况——失业率从近50年来的最低水平,跃升至1948年采用现行衡量体系以来的最高水平。现在,失业率虽有所下降,但仍然处于2008年至2009年金融危机复苏之后的最高水平。

报告作者关注到了失业影响数年后死亡率及人口预期寿命的情况。关于这个问题的现有研究很少,报告作者利用美国劳工统计局(Bureau of Labor Statistics)和美国疾病预防控制中心(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)67年间的失业、预期寿命和死亡率数据进行了自己的分析,以把影响死亡率和人口预期寿命的其他因素剔除,单独分析2020年失业率大飙升的影响。

报告主要发现:在接下来的20年里,和没有疫情、没有高失业率的情况相比,死亡人数将多出137万人,研究人员称,这一数字“令人震惊”。

此外,报告还发现,“过高的死亡率将在很大程度上影响非裔美国人。”报告指出,在未来的20年里,每10万人中非裔美国人的死亡人数将增加32.6人,而美国白人将仅增加24.6人。总体而言,在这段时间内,美国死亡人数将比失业率未飙升的正常情况下增加约3.2%。

这些新发现让决策者所面临的窘境进一步复杂化。封锁等限制措施造成经济损失,但挽救了生命。但是,如果数据证明,经济危机虽然在短期内挽救了生命,但在未来几年也会危机性命,那什么才是正确的解决政策呢?

对此,研究人员强调称,“我们并不认为决策者封锁的做法错误”,相反,政策还应该“加强对最弱势群体的健康和经济支持”。

在美国,这种支持大部分由经济刺激计划、额外失业保险等措施提供。如此看来,这篇报告对于额外死亡率的预测会不会言过其实呢?恰恰相反,已经有其他因素表明,额外死亡率不仅没有夸大,反而可能被低估了。

正面来看,2020年这样迅速逆转的经济衰退是前所未有的。衰退突然袭来,但在几个月内又迅速反弹。现在的经济复苏速度比以往的“衰退-回弹”速度要快得多,对预期寿命的损害得到了一定减轻。此外,研究人员还指出,这是《平价医疗法案》(Affordable Care Act)实施后的第一次衰退(《平价医疗费用法案》是减轻失业对公民福祉影响的关键资源)。

但这场危机潜在的不利因素也相当可怕。研究人员计入风险:新数据显示,封锁期间获得医疗保健的机会有限、预防性护理干预不得不临时中止、雇主提供的医疗保险产生巨大损失、民众对感染和就医的持续性担忧,这些种种因素对死亡率和人口寿命预期的影响,比想象中的还要严重。

报告中新的发现给决策者和我们所有人都提出了另一个挑战:我们知道谁死于新冠,惨痛的数字背后是一个个确切的姓名,由此,在面对事实、奋起反击的过程中,一种强烈的紧迫感被激发出来。但是,在今后几十年里,我们将无法确切知道新冠疫情造成的经济灾难,究竟缩短了多少生命、哪些生命。这种痛苦也一样真实,不应该被忽视、被忘记。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

The economic effects of COVID-19 could prove deadlier than the disease itself.

So says just-released research, which concludes that the total lives lost to the virus in the U.S. may “far exceed those immediately related to the acute COVID-19 critical illness…The recession caused by the pandemic can jeopardize population health for the next two decades.”

The new working paper, by authors at Duke University, Harvard Medical School, and the Johns Hopkins University business school, focuses on the almost instantaneous unemployment of millions of workers in March and April. The unemployment rate jumped from nearly the lowest in 50 years to the highest since the current measurement system began in 1948. While it has come down, it’s still at its highest rate since the recovery from the 2008–09 financial crisis.

The authors wondered how unemployment affects mortality and life expectancy years later. Little research on that question existed, so they conducted their own analysis using 67 years of data about unemployment, life expectancy, and death rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They were able to separate the effects of the unprecedented 2020 unemployment spike from other factors that affect mortality and life expectancy.

Their main finding: Over the next 20 years, 1.37 million more people will die than would have died without the unemployment shock the pandemic caused, a number the researchers call “staggering.”

They find also that “excess deaths will disproportionately affect African-Americans.” The implied increases in deaths per 100,000 individuals over the next 20 years are 32.6 for African-Americans versus 24.6 for white Americans. In all, about 3.2% more people would die in the U.S. over that span than would have died without the spike in joblessness.

These new findings further complicate the excruciating quandary facing policymakers. Lockdowns and other restrictions impose economic suffering but save lives. If it turns out that the economic suffering, while saving lives in the near term, also costs lives in later years, then what is the right policy response?

The researchers emphasize that “we do not want to suggest that policymakers should refrain from ordering lockdowns as necessary lifesaving measures”; rather, policy should also provide “enhanced health and economic support for the most vulnerable portions of the population.”

In the U.S., that support has been provided, at least partially, through stimulus checks, extra unemployment insurance. So could the new paper’s predictions of excess deaths be overblown? Maybe, but other factors suggest they could be underestimated.

On the upside, we’ve never experienced a recession that reversed as quickly as this one, which struck suddenly but then bounced back sharply within months. The economy might now recover much faster than it did after past downturns, easing the damage to life expectancy. In addition, the researchers note, “this is the first recession with the Affordable Care Act in place, a critical resource to mitigate the effects of unemployment on citizens’ well-being.”

But the potential downside in this singular crisis is also formidable. The researchers catalog the dangers: “Based on emerging data, it is likely that the limited access to health care during the lockdown, temporary discontinuation of preventive care interventions, massive loss of employer-provided health insurance coverage, and the lingering concern of the population about seeking medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19 will impact mortality rate and life expectancy even more severely” than predicted.

The new findings pose one more challenge for policymakers and everyone else. We mostly know who is dying of COVID-19 itself, and those depressing numbers, each accompanied by a name, drive a sense of urgency as we fight back. In coming decades, we will never know exactly whose lives have been shortened by the economic distress the pandemic caused. But that suffering will be just as real and shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored.

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