Ethics and Public Policy, Some Ask a Taboo Question: Is America Overreacting to Coronavirus?

Calculating the economic costs of curtailing social interaction compared with the lives saved, he agreed, might yield a useful metric for policymakers. The U.S. government routinely performs such analyses when assessing new regulations, with the “statistical value of life” currently pegged by one government agency at about $9 million.

Still, Dr. Thunstrom asked, “Do we even want to look at that? Is it too callous?”


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