Strict measures to control the spread of Covid-19 the best economic policy – leading macroeconomic influencers

4 January 2021 (Last Updated January 4th, 2021 07:33)

Experts and analysts remain divided between Covid-19 lockdowns and its impact on the economy. While countries across the world adopted different strategies with varying levels of success, an effective strategy to control the spread of coronavirus appears to be the best strategy, macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid-19 impact.

Strict measures to control the spread of Covid-19 the best economic policy – leading macroeconomic influencers
Lockdowns and restrictions to control spread of Covid-19 is the best economic policy.

Experts and analysts remain divided between Covid-19 lockdowns and its impact on the economy. While countries across the world adopted different strategies with varying levels of success, an effective strategy to control the spread of coronavirus appears to be the best strategy, macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid-19 impact.

Angella MacEwen

Angella MacEwen, economist at CUPE National, shared an article on how Canada handled the Covid-19 pandemic compared to other countries. During the initial stages of the pandemic, Canada performed poorly as the government and public health officials were unprepared. Between April and June the government was able to control coronavirus infections by imposing restrictions and lockdowns, but the country’s GDP shrunk by 13.4%.

Several countries followed a similar strategy of imposing lockdowns and restrictions during the period. The article noted that those countries that imposed strict restrictions during the initial stages kept the deaths per million low but also had a low decline in GDP. The approach to handling the pandemic was considered as a trade-off between health and the economy by several experts. The article noted that this is not the case and that an aggressive action to control the spread of Covid-19 is the best economic policy.

Justin Hendrix

Justin Hendrix, co-founder and CEO of Tech Policy Press, shared an article on the chaos surrounding the administration of Covid-19 vaccine in the US. Despite more than 13 million doses being dispatched, only 4.2 million have been delivered to frontline health-care workers and senior citizens.

Elderly people have been forced to wait in long queues as confusion prevailed over administration of the vaccine. Although the development of the vaccine was handled by the government, administration was passed onto states without taking into consideration the support and funds they need.

Overworked and underfunded public health workers in states are struggling to disburse the vaccine. The article noted that the policies adopted by the former President Ronald Reagan was the primary cause for the current situation. The impact of the budget cuts implemented by Reagan weakened the country’s public health infrastructure and has further worsened during the current pandemic, the article added.

Stephany Griffith-Jones

Stephany Griffith-Jones, an economist specialising on financial crises, shared an article on the views expressed by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on the need to implement another lockdown in the UK as the virus is going out of control. Starmer added that lockdowns should be the first step to controlling the virus.

The daily new cases in the UK have exceeded 50,000 even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated towards another lockdown in the next few weeks. Starmer noted that the lockdown should be implemented immediately, and a targeted lockdown of most affected areas should continue to control the virus.

Guntram Wolff

Guntram Wolff, Economist and Director of Bruegel, a think tank, tweeted on how experts are suggesting that vaccination will lead to herd immunity, but evidence is lacking to support this claim. He shared the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) briefing document on Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine.

The document states that data is limited regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine against transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from individuals who are infected despite vaccination. Additional information from clinical trials and vaccine use is needed to ascertain whether the vaccine is effective in preventing transmission particularly from individuals with asymptomatic infection, the document added.