COVID-19 estimated cost is $46.7M

| 27/07/2020 | 36 Comments

(CNS): The auditor general has found that government’s estimated spending and committed expenditure on the COVID-19 pandemic, as at 19 June, is CI$46.7 million. This unaudited estimate does not include lost revenue and is based on available information supplied by government. With more work to come on the wider costs of this healthcare crisis, Sue Winspear said it was in the public interest for people to know what had been spent.

The report looks at just the additional spending that government has already paid out or is committed to paying out to cover expenses incurred from the confirmed arrival of the virus here in March until the government lowered the suppression measures to Level 2 on 19 June. By then, the public purse had laid out around $21 million and was committed to spending a further $25 million, the auditors found.

The auditor general did not comment in the report on whether or not government has achieved value for money or noted any significant criticisms. Winspear said there were some gaps in the information supplied, and the education ministry has included some items as COVID-19 related costs that appear to be just general costs. But she said these issues would be examined in a future, more substantial report.

“I, along with the rest of the citizens of the Cayman Islands, welcome the actions taken by the government to suppress the spread of the disease,” Winspear stated. Saying there was no doubt that government had succeeded in its “number one priority of preserving life during the pandemic”, she noted that “these actions also have a financial cost” and promised to “continue to monitor the expenditure and report further on this later in the year”.

The team at the Office of the Auditor General will also be analysing estimated public revenue losses as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown at a later date.

This public interest report was simply to provide the public with a factual summary on how much government has spent, and on what, in response to the pandemic and what it has committed to spending, Winspear explained.

“COVID-19 has been a major world-wide pandemic which arrived in the Cayman Islands in early March,” she said. “From mid-March the government started to take a number of actions to suppress the spread of the disease. We estimate that the total cost of COVID-related activities will be at least $46.7 million.”

Much of the spending has been on healthcare related costs, including testing kits and protective equipment for healthcare staff, which is currently around $14.2 million. But government has spent even more, around $15.7 million, on propping up businesses and those who work in tourism. Another $5.2 million has been spent on social assistance and an additional $5.6 million on the public sector payroll.

See the full report in the CNS Library

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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Probably $40million gone to ex-pats. Damn shame.

  2. China virus says:

    Send the bill to CHINA!

  3. Anonymous says:

    What we saw and are continuing to see here is 100% political theater and you bet they are milking it for all they can.

    Don’t expect masks to go away any time soon regardless that they have shown to be absolutely useless in countless controlled medical studies, this conformity is political gold for these self-serving ego maniacs.

    The masks are reminders just how much they saved us all from a sickness that doesn’t so much as gives you the sniffles.

    But hey keep waring your usless masks with gaping holes on each side of your faces, it makes them look like they did something. And by the way. Let’s keep the financial devastation going as long as we possibly can for good measure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Without “countless controlled medical studies”, my unscientific brain tells me that if you put a barrier in front of something, anything, even extremely small particles if not completely prevented from movement or access to something, then slowed down.

      About me: Anti-vaxxer (but not a fanatic, some vaccines, very few, are a must), apolitical, neither vegan nor carnivore, not a religious person, an environmentalist, believe that allopathic medicine is useless except emergency medicine (doctors can save your life, but don’t know to treat chronic conditions).

      Having said that I believe wearing a face mask must not be mandatory, but a choice.

      If you read controlled scientific studies from peer-reviewed journals (not from agenda driven media articles), here is more for you (but based on my prior posts hardly anybody, may be 1-2 persons manage to read and understand it):

      The results of a preprint* published today (July 19)that provides some insights into how dangerous the indoor air is, and, indirectly, how useful masks might be in protecting against transmission.

      Underlying this analysis is the question of how many virus particles need to be inhaled to cause an infection. To be sure of this we would need volunteers to be inoculated with the virus. We don’t have that. However, animal studies suggest the median dose required is 280 “plaque-forming units,” (PFU) while 10 percent of people could get infected with as little as 43 PFU.

      The authors of today’s preprint estimate that it takes 10 virus particles to make one PFU, so this would mean that 10% of people could be infected by 430 particles while the median infectious dose would be 2800 particles. These authors, however, use data from the first SARS virus and the flu to estimate that the infectious dose would be between 100 and 1000 particles.

      This preprint, released by physicists, virologists, and physicians from Amsterdam, used healthy people in an experiment to model how speaking and coughing release large droplets and aerosols in a closed environment.

      98% of the spray from a cough goes into large droplets that are 100 to 1000 micrometers. The remaining 2% goes into smaller microdroplets. The smaller the microdroplet, the longer it can stay in the air, and it is very small microdroplets that aerosolize and become airborne.

      Using the typical concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva and sputum, they estimated that if a single person coughed once in a small enclosed space that was 2x2x2 cubic meters (one meter is 3.3 feet), airborne virus particles would be so few and far between that one would have to spend 12 minutes in the environment to risk getting infected, and that the maximal number of viral particles one could inhale from that single cough would be 120, which is unlikely to be sufficient to get most people sick, but might infect a small proportion of people.

      With lots of people in a closed environment, the probability of there being more than one cough, and perhaps many coughs, goes up. Limiting the number of people who enter an enclosed environment per unit time would decrease that probability. Ventilating the room would decrease the probability by increasing the likelihood that the few aerosolized droplets released from a given cough are removed from the room.

      Saying the words “stay healthy” 230 times produces the same volume of aerosolized liquid as coughing once. So, people speaking for great lengths indoors can transmit as effectively as people occasionally coughing.

      These results suggest that, while open air is quite safe (unless you are close enough for someone to cough on you), enclosed environments can be dangerous if people are coughing frequently or constantly speaking. To minimize transmission in such a closed environment you would want each cough that takes place in a 2x2x2 cubic meter environment to be matched by fewer than 12 person-minutes (the number of people times the number of minutes spent).

      It would be silly to micromanage this on such modeling, but it supports the general principle that in enclosed environments you would want to keep out people who know they are coughing, while limiting the number of people to prevent overcrowding as well as the length of time for which people are staying indoors.

      How protective would masks be? At a minimum, they would likely stop most of the 98% of liquid that yields large droplets of 100 to 1000 micrometers. I would have to do more research to estimate whether they might also prevent some aerosolization, as I imagine this depends on whether droplet sizes are finalized before they exit the mouth, or whether many aerosolized microdroplets are formed from larger droplets after exiting the mouth.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually this is incorrect. Some of the controlled scientific studies show that wearing the mask is actually increases the risk of infection as it can congregate bacteria and viruses in the dampened areas of the masks.

        • Anonymous says:

          Correct if one wears the same face mask for hours. But when using it for short periods, indoor, where risk of infection is high, it serves it purpose. So wearing it while in a doctor’s waiting area or riding a public bus or attending an event that gathers large crowds is probably a good idea.

          So it is not black and white when it comes to wearing face masks. It is all about common sense. Some wear it while riding a bicycle or even sitting alone in their own car.

      • Anonymous says:

        Here is a Phd virologist, professor Cambridge University speak about it, jump to 25 mins

        Information like this is purposely suppressed.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you. Frankly, I wasn’t impressed with the presentation. Placebo effect when it comes to face masks? What can’t be more rubbish than such a statement?

          Like I already said, based on studies or common sense, there is a place and time to wear a face mask while you don’t have to wear it all the time and everywhere.

          And if you have read the above summary carefully, it says:
          -open air is quite safe
          -enclosed environments CAN BE dangerous 🛑IF🛑people are coughing frequently or constantly speaking
          – in ENCLOSED environments you would want to keep out people who know they are coughing

          As you can see it is a common knowledge that a coughing person can infect you with a virus or bacteria, IF they are infected with flu, virus or bacteria. So shopping at a large supermarket is probably safe, but riding a mini-bus where 10 people are sitting next to each other probably not. But if one works at a large supermarket disinfecting shopping carts or at checkout, it is probably wise to be protected.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Covid aside, it would be interesting to sum up the accumulated public cost of all the mis-fired ego and religious-nuttery; ie add up the accumulated costs of bias-driven narrative fallacies, hindsight bias blindness, and snap overconfidence actions of this regime, so we can all understand the dangerous social costs of letting unchecked, unaccountable regimes like this to repeat, to shield themselves from inspection and criticism, and run amok again. In 2021, we need busloads of principled and well-calibrated new players ready to serve the people and lead us out of the ethical wasteland of the past by setting completely new eligibility criteria, implementing fully-transparent accounting, and new performance benchmarking. Otherwise we are doomed to the usual reshuffled deck.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try so sit down. Before you say thanks for keeping me and my loved ones safe, you spew your self righteous stream of consciousness.

      Clearly you have never held any form of responsibility in your life. If you did, you would understand the burden of knowing that lives depend on quick and decisive decision making and that to risk people’s lives for the sake of bravado would be reckless and foolhardy.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All that and still no mask or assistance!

  6. ELVIS says:

    A very small price to pay for safety of all and security of your beautiful island paradise.
    well done everyone so far.

    • Anonymous says:

      You tell that to all that lost their f*ing jobs and livelihood. Nice to live in a bubble isn’t it?

      • Anonymous says:

        Would you rather be dead or permanently disabled?

        • Anonymous says:

          99.9% recovery rate. Permanent disability after recovering from COVID-19 is something you came up with on your own. One has to be disabled for at least a year to call it permanent. Lung damage disability would be probably caused by mechanical respirators improperly used in March-April. The same goes for devastating consequences of blood clots that weren’t known in March-April. Only time would tell if disability is permanent.

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow I thought it would be way worse than that

  9. Anonymous says:

    It would be interesting to know what exactly was purchased at what costs that is classified as PPE for healthcare staff.

    Amazon retail price:
    Disposable Suit – $18.99
    10(ten)Protection Kits -surgical mask and gloves – $29.99
    10(ten) Face shields – $39.99
    Level II disposable gowns – $6.99

    • Anonymous says:

      Disposable Isolation Impervious Gown Case of 100 -$486.50 or $4.86 per gown

      Disposable 3-Layer Non-Surgical Face Mask 100: $48 or 0.48 per mask

      Safety Face Shields Full Face Protection – Pack of 10-$29.99 or $2.99 per shield

      It must be embroidered masks that have run the PPE cost to 14.2 mil, but wait, they are not worn by healthcare staff.

      Unless a breakdown is provided, it doesn’t look realistic to spend so much money on healthcare staff PPEs, especially taking into account the number of healthcare workers employed by HSA and the absence of COVID19 patients.

      • Anonymous says:

        PPE doesn’t go bad in the same way that PCR re-agents might. We might really need it later during season 2 and 3…

  10. Anna Peccarino says:

    It would be nice to get a breakdown, particularly of the $15.7million to prop up businesses and the $5.6million payroll costs…

    • Anonymous says:

      To be honest, I don’t even see the point of adding the public sector payroll as the focus is suppose to be on money spent as a result of the covid lock down. If it were the additional money awarded to various public sector workers because of their close interaction with potential covid carriers, then fine that would be understandable. However public sector payroll is a ordinary expense and happens without covid nonetheless.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not if it’s overtime or additional cost, which at that price it must be. Not counting paying people like the Post Office staff to do nothing. Or the special constabulary who are paid buttons. Just walk past Regatta and count all the hire vehicles being used by RCIPS- policing the lockdown alone must have cost way more than this. Wonder if the AG has been given all the numbers and how much there is in budget overspend not being treated as COVID related.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Who can put a cost on a life? We have not lost any!

    Well done good and faithful servants. Well done!

    Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Which true with just about all of the Caribbean.

      In Fact Jamaica, per capita had less deaths than Cayman.

      10 “Covid Deaths” in almost 3 million people….and that probably includes the one that fell to her death trying to escape the quarantine.

      The fact is, the lock down cause more damage than good and we will be suffering from this for months to come. Let’s wait an see who’s health was seriously compromised as a result of not getting proper healthcare. Not to mention the financial devestation.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but Jamaica has had infinitely more deaths of residents than Cayman, since not a single resident of these islands has died. Don’t you just love playing stupid statistics games?

    • anon says:

      Lives will be lost, missed cancer diagnosis etc.

      I dont prentend to know the answer but I am certai the indirect consequences of Covid 19 are not only financial

  12. Anonymous says:

    Money well spent. World Class Performance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, just below Jamaica. I’m not giving Jamaica props. Just point out we did nothing spectacular!

      • Anonymous says:

        Jamaica didn’t test everyone. They still have Covid19. They can’t compare to us.

        • Anonymous says:

          They can in terms of deaths and per capital, they did far better.

          • Anonymous says:

            OK ! 3 million people compare to $65k. You cannot compare the per capital as you call it. The per per capita of these two islands cannot be compared. Please know what your talking about rolling eyes

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