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Paul Romer

Denmark Aims For 40,000 Tests, Nobel Prize Economist Proposes A Doubling

Paul Romer

Paul Romer wants to bet with Magnus Heunicke that it can be done.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke (S) has a target of 42,000 Danes being tested daily for corona. Currently, the record is just under 13,000 in a single day.

However, according to Paul Romer, the former chief economist at the World Bank, the figure must be much higher – to 400,000 daily tests.

He says this in an interview with Detector.

– We have to ask ourselves how much we lose if we cannot quickly return to our daily activities, he says in the interview, which can be heard at its full length at the top of the article.

– My estimate is that in the US it costs us about $ 500 billion every month. I do not know what the corresponding amount will be for Denmark, but it will be much, much more than the cost of doing the necessary tests.

In Denmark , in early April, Danmarks Nationalbank estimated that the corona crisis could lead to a negative growth in 2020 of between three and ten percent of GDP.

Roadmap to a responsible reopening

Paul Romer is today an economics professor at New York University and in 2018 received the Nobel Prize in Economics – or the Swedish Riksbank’s award in economic science, to the memory of Alfred Nobel, as it is rightly called.

Romes is behind a plan for a reopening of the United States , which is largely focused on increasing the number of tests.

The plan is for seven percent of the population to be tested every day so that the infected can quarantine and the healthy can go back to work safely.

It should continue until a vaccine is available.

If seven percent of the Danish population were to be tested, that would mean 400,000 daily tests.

Paul Romer explains the logic of his plan with an example from his own life. When he recently had some lights changed in his home, the electricians stopped coming because they were worried they might get sick.

The government can compensate me and my wife and the electricians who were changing our lights when the pandemic came. But that work is still not being done. It won’t get our economy back, he says.

If everyone is tested regularly, however, the situation will be different.

– If I could show them that I have been tested negative for the virus within the past week and my wife can do the same and they can also show us that they are negative, then they can continue, says Paul Romer.

– Without the opportunity to show each other that we are not infected, it will be very difficult to make people feel safe by returning to their normal activities.

According to Paul Romer, it will cost around ten dollars each time you test a person. This equates to $ 260 per person per year or just under NOK 1,800.

“It’s not an expense that’s going to ruin our economy,” he says.

Will bet with the Minister of Health

An important part of Paul Roman’s plan is that the many daily tests should not stand alone. It is also important that the sick are isolated from the healthy. Ideally, the sick should be offered a place to live temporarily so that they do not infect their families.

– In the US, we would also have to offer them to isolate themselves at home, but at the same time warn them that it will probably mean that their family members will also be infected. And if they isolate themselves at home, the whole family must be quarantined at the same time, he says.


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