The Covid pandemic has been given a hefty price tag of $14 trillion.
A team of economists, public policy researchers and other experts from the University of Southern California used economic modeling to estimate the pandemic’s financial toll on the nation.
The pandemic, which triggered once-unthinkable lockdowns and upended the global economy, killed more than 1.1 million Americans and hospitalized many more.
The researchers said the pandemic’s economic effects were ‘unprecedented’ for the US.
A team of economists, public policy researchers and other experts from the University of Southern California used economic modeling to estimate the pandemic’s financial toll on the nation
Using data from the first two and a half years of the pandemic, the researchers forecasted the scale of Covid monetary losses from January 2020 to December 2023.
They approximated the revenue lost due to forced business closures and also considered the economic burden of alterations in behavior including steering clear of restaurants, theaters and other busy spots.
Work absences and sales lost due to the stopping of shopping done on foot, flights abroad and public gatherings had the most impact.
The sectors that were the worst hit were air travel companies, which decreased by 58 percent, dining, which dropped 27 percent and health and social services, which went down 30 percent.
Luckily, a skyrocketing of online purchases, financial relief packages from the government and the transition to working from home maintained some economic activity.
Between 2020 and 2023, the cumulative net economic output of the US will total roughly $103 trillion.
If Covid had not happened, the total of GDP over those four years would have been $117 trillion.
The toll on America’s GDP is double the size of the impact of the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009.
Revenue from airplane travel, restaurant dining and attendance to big in-person events dropped by over 50 percent during the first two and a half years of the Covid pandemic. The decline was due to changes to public behavior, motivated by regulations and health concerns
It is 20 times greater than the financial cost of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and 40 times more than any other catastrophe to hit the US in the 21st century.
The researchers estimated Covid-related health expenditures to be $214 billion, which equates to around eight percent of the total annual gross output of the health care and social service sector.
They also estimated the total number of work days lost to Covid was more than 600 million.
Even though the federal government has now announced an end to the Covid public health emergency, the pandemic will have lasting effects on the American economy.
The percentage of the population participating in the workforce dropped from 63.3 in February 2020 to 60.1 in April 2020.
Only last month did it start to recover and stood at 62.6 percent.
The researchers noted that there were economic effects of Covid that they did not include, such as lost years of work after an early death or serious cases of long Covid.
Learning loss felt by students and the costs to do with how Covid affected people’s mental health were also not considered.
Back in October 2022, researchers from the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank, estimated the economic cost of shuttered businesses and lost jobs due to each state’s lockdown measures from January to March, in 2021.
They then estimated the cost on each resident of those states — a Massachusetts family of four lost out on $11,448, while a comparable Mississippi household lost out on only $4,016, according to the 42-page document.
Another study in November 2020 estimated the cost of government lockdowns in the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic in America, and found that $6 million in damage was done for every life saved.
Researchers from HEC Paris business school and Bocconi University in Milan concluded that US closures from March through May saved 29,000 lives — but at a cost of $169 billion, or around $6 million per person.
The study examined the costs of declining company market values and job losses during the shutdowns, which threw some 40 million people out of work.