How much the din the pandemic cost us

Country/area: Romania

Organisation: Panorama.ro

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 5/8/2021

Credit: Elena Dumitru, Edit Gyenge

Biography: Elena Dumitru has been working as a journalist for 11 years and has covered two major fields: economic journalism and investigative journalism. She started at “Adevărul” newspaper, in the Economics, International and Special Reporters sections. She reported from Transnistria, Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh. In 2014, she joined the RISE Project investigation platform.
Edit Gyenge is an information designer. She has 16 years of professional experience as a journalist and communication consultant. 4 years ago she translated her passion for data journalism and information design into a business and helps NGO’s and media publications better present their data and tell visual stories.

Project description:

Paradoxically, the costs of the global medical system fell during the Covid period: the redistribution of funds to counteract the pandemic and the reluctance of people to go to the hospital for other medical conditions meant less money spent in hospitals.

However, the real costs of this phenomenon will be seen in the coming years, health experts point out. Then all the undiagnosed conditions due to the pandemic will suffocate the medical system.
The article aims to map out the medical budgets of every EU member state by the source of origin and destination and explain the situation on a national level.

Impact reached:

Analyzing and combining the country level data and representing it in one single chart helps us understand that:

There are huge differences in allocations between European countries. In absolute terms, Germany has advanced the highest funds to fight the pandemic (34.6 billion euros). At the other end of the spectrum is Croatia, which has officially allocated an additional € 53 million.

The highest additional per capita allocations was in Austria (EUR 3,111 per capita) and the lowest in Croatia (EUR 12.5 per capita).

Austria also ranks first if we interpret the additional allocations as a percentage of the usual health budget, with 70%. At the bottom of the rankings, France increased its budget by only 0.75% of its pre-pandemic budget. However, Paris plans to invest heavily in the health care system, but so far the allocations have not been included in the 2020 and 2021 budget years, so they cannot be taken into account in this analysis.

Romania and Bulgaria are the last countries in the additional per capita allocations, with 42 and 33 euros, respectively. The same two countries are among the “leaders” in the mortality rate among patients infected with Covid-19, being surpassed only by Italy, where the pandemic profile was atypical compared to the rest of Europe in the context of the aging population.

Techniques/technologies used:

Technologies: Microsoft Excel, Flourish.studio, Affinity Designer

What was the hardest part of this project?

The only preliminary centralization of pandemic spending in the EU has been achieved through a joint effort by the European Health Observatory, the European Commission, and the European Representation of the World Health Organization. It is by no means exhaustive. In addition, many public contracts have been signed on their own account by local public authorities or institutions with specific activities.

For the time being, in order to have a unit of measurement in relation to the other EU member states, Panorama reviewed the additional allocations from the state budgets to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and lists the main acquisitions financed in this way.

To understand these expenditures, we have collected additional allocations since the outbreak of the pandemic (2020 in full and partial data available for 2021). However, these absolute values do not provide a clear x-ray of the amounts spent by governments to cover the medical costs of the pandemic: we cannot compare allocations in a country with 80 million inhabitants and trillion-euro GDP (such as Germany) with systematically underfunded budgets from poorer EU countries (where Romania also falls).

So we interpreted these absolute values based on a few fixed benchmarks. First: how much was the additional per capita allocation in each European state.

We then calculated the amount of these additional allocations from the health budget before the pandemic broke out. The benchmark for this criterion is 2018 – the most recent year for which we have final official statistics from Eurostat, which also include subsequent budget corrections at the EU level.

What can others learn from this project?

This data cannot be interpreted without context.

We looked at the statistics by which the extent of the pandemic in each country can be measured: the number of cases confirmed by Covid-19, the mortality rate among those infected, the total number of tests settled by each state, and the vaccination rate. of the population.

Project links: