I have no bone to pick with a cost-benefit analysis approach being used to measure the effectiveness of Canada’s pandemeic – seems a little cold and certainly tougher to say in public than the “we’ll do anything required” approach – but possibly a useful benchmark. You might think that anticipating some extra scrutiny you would do a bit more work than scribbling some figures on the back of an envelope.
In calculating the cost of the government’s response, Grubel inexplicably uses the drop in GDP as the cost of the government’s policies as if the pandemic’s economic impact would have skipped Canada like a bad boy on Christmas if the government had done nothing. The drop in GDP as a result of the pandemic is the cost of the pandemic not the cost of the response.
Making some assumptions and estimating the reach of the disease sans lockdown and the resulting economic impact might reasonably be anticipated in “academic analysis”. I’m no economist but maybe there would have been some impact from, say, reduced trade, workforce reduction …
Honestly you aught to fail 5th-grade arithmetic for an error like that.