There are a lot of inexpensive precautions people can take to avoid the worst effects of the COVID delta variant — ending up in intensive care or worse, dead. So let’s run some numbers. Which price do you want to pay?
Vaccines: Free for the patient, about $20 per dose for the taxpayer
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the one most commonly used in the United States. It is incredibly effective at protecting the vaccinated from serious illness and death. The federal government paid $19.50 a dose or $39 for administering the full two-dose course for the first 100 million.
Masks: About $2 each
Once in short supply, the best ones — N-95 masks — are easy to buy. For example, Home Depot sells a 10-pack of 3M N-95 masks for $20.47. You wear a mask to protect others more than yourself, but N-95s can do both well. If everyone wears a mask, they are very effective at reducing transmission of the contagious delta variant.
Monoclonal antibodies: Free for the patient, $1,000-plus for the taxpayer
This treatment is only for those who already have COVID, administered intravenously in two doses within 10 days of symptoms. Gov. Ron DeSantis has been touting the drugmaker Regeneron’s version of the antibody cocktail.
Intensive care/ventilator: $100,000 and up
Those sick enough from COVID to need intensive care or a ventilator pay a high price. Insured patients are likely to max out their deductible, and it’s worse for those without insurance. According to FAIR Health, the median price charged to an uninsured patient in Florida is $235,000.
A funeral and burial: More than $10,000
More than 40,000 Floridians have already died of COVID. The average cost of a funeral and burial is about $10,700. That’s just the price in dollars, not the emotional and spiritual loss.
Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Paul Tash. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.