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Cambridge: Long Covid costs UK economy £1.5billion each year!

Cambridge macroeconomics‘ new report draws on the latest available evidence to examine the future impacts of Long Covid to 2030, using its macroeconomic model E3ME. The report considers trends such as future prevalence, effects on the ability to work and the costs of Long Covid treatment, and is one of the first macroeconomic impact assessments of Long Covid as a long-term condition with wider societal effects…

“Our analysis suggests that Long Covid, if it proceeds according to current knowledge and trends, may represent a further source of chronic pressure and a drag on economic growth.”

Chris Thoung, Director of Society at Cambridge Econometrics

Key Findings

– Using our E3ME macroeconomic model to simulate a Long Covid future, the results suggest that Long Covid may have macroeconomic costs of some £1.5bn of GDP each year, with the impacts increasing if future prevalence were to rise.

– The main driver of this result is the way in which Long Covid reduces people’s ability to work, leading to lower household incomes and lower economic growth overall. Lower employment of around 138,000 by 2030 follows as a consequence.

– The pattern of these impacts across the economy reflects a mix of sectors in which more people have Long Covid, leading to reductions in and exits from work; and lower economic activity, which tends to affect market services in an economy such as the UK.

– In the analysis, the assumption is that total government spending remains the same in the Long Covid scenario, such that any expenditure on Long Covid-related healthcare involves a reduction in some other item(s) of public spending, whether in health or more widely.

– In the current fiscal environment, this represents a trade-off. As seen early in the pandemic, COVID-19 placed acute pressure on a health system already struggling with mounting waiting lists and deteriorating performance.

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