Sunday October 24th 2021
Economist calculates damage
The next flu wave could cost 30 billion euros
The corona pandemic and its consequences still have a firm grip on the economy. However, enormous damage can arise not only from new, but also from the well-known flu and cold pathogens, as an economist has calculated.
Economists warn of the high economic costs of a severe flu and cold wave in the coming months. Should there be a particularly large number of respiratory diseases this season, such as between October 2017 and April 2018, an economic loss of up to 30 billion euros could result. This is based on estimates by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) for “Welt am Sonntag”.
These calculations are based on data from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and evaluations by the AOK health insurance company on lost work due to respiratory diseases in the months of October 2017 to April 2018. Due to the relaxed corona measures, doctors expected a severe cold and flu season.
From the point of view of IfW economist Lena Merkel, the loss could be even greater if you add in the absence of days caused by sick children or relatives in need of care. “At the same time, however, it could also be that employees no longer report sick despite a respiratory illness, but try to continue working from the home office,” said Merkel. She also pointed out that the chronically ill are also among the sick notes.
Klaus Wahle, former member of the Standing Vaccination Commission and initiator of the “Flu Protection Project”, told “Welt am Sonntag” that the increase in the current wave of colds and flu is still developing as it was in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. Also because of the relaxed corona measures, the expert considers an increase in the number of sick people above this level to be possible. In addition, there was an immunity gap because there was no real flu epidemic last year, said Wahle.