Now that COVID-19 has had its first year anniversary in Western countries, it is a good time to calculate some metrics. In particular, how much spending did governments do to fight COVID19 and keep their economies moving.
Estimates of how much money each country spent on COVID-19 are difficult to calculate fairly because:
- We have to translate all of the spending into a common currency and the US dollar compared to other currencies has been all over the place in the last year
- Many countries have serious COVID spending done at the state or municipal level
- Some of the spending may have occurred anyway but be counted against COVID for political reasons
- No country has self-reported their full first year figures. Some reported numbers in October, some were calculated by various agencies in December
- Some of the money had actually been spent, while some of the money was simply ‘announced’. For instance we included the US $1.9T COVID relief package in our figures even through the ‘checks are in the mail’, but not received yet.
To develop something that could be compared between countries, we used the US dollar with todays exchange rate and we extrapolated publicly available figures from the date they were reported until today and came up with this interesting chart:
|COVID Billions (USD)||Population (Millions)||Per Capita COVID Spending (USD)|
|United States||$ 3,690||330.1||$ 11,178|
|Canada||$ 225||37.8||$ 5,952|
|Britain||$ 425||66||$ 6,439|
|Brazil||$ 63||67||$ 940|
As noted, these figures do not represent an exhaustive or highly scientific looks at the dollar costs associated with COVID19. They do represent a ‘back of the napkin’ rough estimate we can use for comparisons.