Trading off the public health measures against their economic cost has become a theme in COVID-19 policy debates over the last few weeks.

Most of the developed world is in lockdown, the world economy has been put to sleep in the interest of saving lives and avoiding meltdown in the hospitals. This comes at huge economic cost and, especially in the US, there are pressures to end the public health measures as soon as possible in order to resume normal economic functioning. But it is not clear that such a simple choice is available – some commentators have even reduced it to a callous comparison of GDP lost against lives saved.