The spread of Covid-19 misinformation cost at least 2,800 lives in Canada over nine months of the pandemic, a new report has revealed.
The report was released on Thursday by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) which commissioned a quantitative economic model to provide an estimate of the direct healthcare costs of Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy between March 1 and November 30, 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the report, if those who reported believing Covid-19 was a hoax were vaccinated when they became eligible, over 2.3 million additional people in Canada would have been inoculated, resulting in roughly 198,000 fewer cases, 13,000 fewer hospitalizations, and 2,800 fewer deaths.
The cost of hospitalisations, including ICU visits associated with these cases, was conservatively estimated at C$300 million ($240 million), the report showed.
These modelled estimates of Covid-19 misinformation impacts in Canada are conservative because they do not capture other direct health costs, such as physician compensation, as well as the ripple effects across society, including the strain placed on Canada’s healthcare system, opportunities for the creation of new variants, and slowing economic recovery, according to the report.
Moreover, impacts are experienced unevenly across society and among different groups, reinforcing longstanding inequities and divisions, CCA said.