Pandemic could cause billion dollar losses in Colo.

Filed under: Health Care |

Colorado’s economic loss during a severe flu pandemic could be nearly $12 billion.

According to a report by Trust for America’s Health, Colorado’s economy could face a 5.4 percent loss — or $11.7 billion — during a severe flu pandemic. The loss represents the 38th highest percentage loss of the 50 states.

States with high levels of tourism and entertainment will be hardest hit, with Nevada facing the biggest decline with a gross domestic product loss of 8.08 percent. Five other states will face losses of more than 6 percent — Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming, Nebraska and Louisiana. Twenty-one other states could drop more than 5.5 percent. No state will lose less than 5 percent in GDP, according to the report.

Industry losses in GDP
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting — $46 million
Mining — $215 million
Construction — $342 million
Manufacturing — $349 million
Wholesale trade — $287 million
Retail trade — $335 million
Transportation and warehousing — $946 million
Finance and insurance — $353 million
Educational services — $32 million
Health care and social assistance — increase of $470 million
Arts, entertainment and recreation — $580 million
Accommodation and food services — $1.29 billion
Other services (except government) — $61 million

Source: Trust for America’s Health

States with economies dependent on government and real estate will suffer the lowest percentage of losses. Virginia and Maryland could experience the lowest GDP drops of any of the states, but would still face declines of 5.13 percent and 5.09 percent, respectively. Washington, D.C. faces a 4.62 percent decline.

The report, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of the U.S. Pandemic Preparedness Initiative, shows that a severe pandemic flu outbreak could result in the second worst recession in the United States since World War II. The overall GDP could drop to 5.5 percent, leading to a national $683 billion loss.

The model used by Trust for America’s Health focused on the impact to 20 industries, trade and worker productivity. It used an outbreak modeled on the 1918 pandemic, which in modern terms could result in nearly 90 million Americans becoming ill and 2.2 million deaths. People who become ill are expected to take at least three weeks to recover. Others would miss significant time from work to care for family members or would stay home because of fear of potential exposure to the flu.

Tourism, entertainment and food services could experience an 80 percent decline, while agriculture, construction, retail trade and finance and insurance services could face a 10 percent loss in demand.

The estimates focus on losses during a single year, using a scenario in which a vaccine is not widely available. A real pandemic could last up to 18 months, in a series of waves that last six to eight weeks each.

Colorado statistics

  • Projected GDP loss from severe pandemic: $11.7 billion
  • Projected GDP percent loss from severe pandemic: 5.4 percent
  • Ranking of percentage losses of 50 states: 38
  • Projected losses because of work force absenteeism and death: $5.2 billion
  • Projected losses to state industries: $4.2 billion
  • Projected losses because of a potential drop in trade; $2.2 billion
  • Projected lives lost: 30,000
  • Projected number of illnesses: 1.38 million

Hospital conducting cancer survivor study

St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center is seeking breast cancer survivors for a clinical study of rehabilitation procedures following cancer treatment.

The hospital is one of two in Colorado that have been selected for the REGAIN — rehabilitation, exercise, guided assistance and information — study, which provides free physical therapy and a personalized exercise program for participants.

The Rev. Roger Patrick Dorcy Cancer Center is conducting the study, and needs 60 women who have had cancer in stages zero to three, during the past two years. Women must be 75 or younger and must not be participating in other physical therapy programs or quality-of-life health studies.

Patients will be asked to attend three wellness assessment points: time of enrollment, at six weeks of participation and at 24 weeks.

The study is being paid for by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and is being conducted in cooperation with the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Call 557-5851 for information.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.