IJERPH, Vol. 20, Pages 2419: Losses of Life Expectancy and Productivity Associated with COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada: Policy Implication for Future Communicable Disease Control (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
This research examines whether the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) did harm to the population’s health through comparing the changes in the life expectancy of Canadians with those of Australians over the period from March 2019 to February 2021 by using a difference-in-differences (DID) estimation method. We found that the pandemic did cause differences in life expectancies between Canada and Australia, probably because of different initial control policies for COVID-19. This study uses the indicator of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) to measure the societal health burden, which was corroborated by estimating temporal productivity loss (TPL) and permanent productivity loss (PPL) based on the human capital approach (HCA) using data from Health Canada. The societal health burden in Canada amounted to 6.493 DALYs per 1000 male persons and 5.316 DALYs per 1000 female persons. The economy’s permanent productivity loss was around USD 5.3 billion, while the temporary productivity loss was around USD 3 billion from February 2020 to April 2022. The sum of the above two losses amounted to 0.477% of the GDP in 2019. Swift and decisive decisions at the very early stage of a pandemic can nip contagions in the bud before numbers get out of hand and would be less damaging to people’s health and the economy, as seen in Australia, in contrast to what happened in Canada. We thus recommend that such policies plus telecommunication systems in healthcare services be implemented early on to cope with the future outbreak of any emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19.