Explaining Brazil #109: The price of a human life

In the Covid-19 war, which path will cause fewer casualties: enacting a lockdown, or reopening the economy? These economists believe they know the answer

The Covid-19 pandemic has often been compared to a war situation. And, in truth, it has certainly caused more human losses than many armed conflicts. In a war, the job of a head of state is to choose the paths that will likely cause fewer deaths. This means that, on many occasions, deciding who will be more exposed to death becomes part of the job description.

So which approach to the Covid-19 crisis will cause the least damage — and cost the fewest lives?

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On this episode:

  • Diego Cardoso is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Economics at Cornell University and a senior researcher at think tank Instituto Mercado Popular. Alongside Northwestern University’s Ricardo Dahis, he calculated the benefits of social distancing and other mitigation strategies to combat Covid-19 in 43 countries — including Brazil.

Background reading:

Explaining Brazil is made by:

  • Gustavo Ribeiro, editor in chief of The Brazilian Report. He has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de S.Paulo, Médiapart, and Radio France Internationale.
  • Euan Marshall, editing. Euan is a journalist and translator who has lived in São Paulo, Brazil since 2011. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, his work has been published in The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Independent, among others.

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