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Coronavirus: Economics consultant - shutting down workplaces 'not justified'

coronavirus 20/04/2020

Ian Harrison, the President of Tailrisk Economics spoke with Peter Williams about the R0 model New Zealand is using for Covid-19, and the outcomes of his own model.

He explains the Otago model grossly overstated the impact by leaving out a key tool, “they left out the tool to contract tracing and testing in isolation,” Harrison explains

The effect of leaving it out will blow up the numbers.

Peter says we don’t know the capability of contact tracing, and asks Harrison how the fact that this information hasn’t been released makes him feel,

I'm not sure if i'm suspicious, I certainly think we’re entitled to see it.

In the R0 model, it showcases how many people an infected person with Covid-19 may affect over 14 days. The assumption is that one person - affects 1.5 people. Peter asks Harrison, “why has this not been made public yet?”

“The headline number becomes the number of deaths,” Harrison explains, but in one of his reports states that not all deaths have the same social costs.

The death of a child is always a tragedy, the death of an older person is always a sadness.

Harrison believes “no”, the public has not been provided enough information on the model. He goes on to say the lockdown shutting all non essential workplaces was not justified.

The outcome of his own model investigated the medical and social side, and ran an example if the construction industry was able to continue through this 4 week period.

The benefits of his outcome predicted;

$7.6 million income, and saved the life of one eldery person.

Harrison goes on to talk about how Iceland and Sweden are handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Iceland has it under control, without the need for social distancing, and Sweden's numbers are running sideways, rather than up and down.

“New Zealand came down very steeply,” he explains, however how Iceland is takling the pandemic has made a huge difference to their number of cases.

Listen to the full interview above.