Pandemic Tradeoffs: Version 1, March 2021

A tool for exploring how COVID-19 policy responses (restrictions, vaccination roll-out, and border opening) impact future SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, health impacts (in health-adjusted life years) and economic impacts (health expenditure, GDP loss).

We have pre-run 648 scenarios through an agent-based model to estimate SARS-CoV-2 infection rates; then run each of these scenarios through an integrated epidemiological and economic model to estimate health loss (in health-adjusted life years or HALYs), health expenditure and GDP costs, with the proportion of times each scenario is optimal from either a health or partial-societal perspective. At the moment, this modelling also includes unintended health consequences of restrictions (including lockdowns) through road traffic injury, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and intimate partner violence. Coming soon, it will also include the effects of changes in physical activity.

The 648 scenarios are for combinations of vaccine coverage, vaccine efficacy at transmission (different from usually reported vaccine efficacy at stopping serious illness), policy response for restrictions (aggressive and moderate elimination, tight and loose suppression), and whether these restrictions are relaxed as vaccination coverage increase. (Coming soon will be extra scenarios for how international borders are opened; at the moment, this is included as a parameter behind the scenes that sees the daily expected incursions of SARS-CoV-2 cases increasing from 0.008 per day in Phase 1a to 0.512 per day in Phase 3 of the vaccination rollout, each with wide uncertainty. This, therefore, approximates a relaxing of borders as vaccination coverage increases. But in the future we will provide user options for border incursions.)

The modelling is specified for Victoria, Australia. But the modelling should apply to any state or Territory in Australia, or New Zealand.

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