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Estimating (quality‐adjusted) life‐year losses associated with deaths: With application to COVID‐19


  • Andrew H. Briggs
  • Daniel A. Goldstein
  • Erin Kirwin
  • Rachel Meacock
  • Ankur Pandya
  • David J. Vanness
  • Torbjørn Wisløff


Many epidemiological models of the COVID‐19 pandemic have focused on preventing deaths. Questions have been raised as to the frailty of those succumbing to the COVID‐19 infection. In this paper we employ standard life table methods to illustrate how the potential quality‐adjusted life‐year (QALY) losses associated with COVID‐19 fatalities could be estimated, while adjusting for comorbidities in terms of impact on both mortality and quality of life. Contrary to some suggestions in the media, we find that even relatively elderly patients with high levels of comorbidity can still lose substantial life years and QALYs. The simplicity of the method facilitates straightforward international comparisons as the pandemic evolves. In particular, we compare five different countries and show that differences in the average QALY losses for each COVID‐19 fatality is driven mainly by differing age distributions for those dying of the disease.

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  • Andrew H. Briggs & Daniel A. Goldstein & Erin Kirwin & Rachel Meacock & Ankur Pandya & David J. Vanness & Torbjørn Wisløff, 2021. "Estimating (quality‐adjusted) life‐year losses associated with deaths: With application to COVID‐19," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 699-707, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:30:y:2021:i:3:p:699-707
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.4208

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rachel Meacock & Søren Rud Kristensen & Matt Sutton, 2014. "The Cost‐Effectiveness Of Using Financial Incentives To Improve Provider Quality: A Framework And Application," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(1), pages 1-13, January.
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    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 8th March 2021
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2021-03-08 12:00:01


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    Cited by:

    1. James Broughel & Michael Kotrous, 2021. "The benefits of coronavirus suppression: A cost-benefit analysis of the response to the first wave of COVID-19 in the United States," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(6), pages 1-20, June.

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