To date, most efforts to understand the comparative population health impact of COVID-19 have been made using mortality-based metrics. This has intensified discussion over methodological choices; in particular, how we value the life-years prematurely lost due to COVID-19. So far, the direct impact of COVID-19 on population health has varied across countries, with wide variation in incidence and infection fatality rates. Understanding and quantifying the combined impact of morbidity and mortality is a key step to standardizing comparisons across countries, and to quantify the within-country impact of COVID-19 relative to other causes of disease and injury, sub-national areas or demographics. This can be achieved by estimating summary measures of population health like disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The estimation of DALYs is useful to provide comprehensive and comparative public health intelligence to inform decision-making for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly around the extent of direct and indirect consequences. At present, the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study has not integrated COVID-19. Some studies have already estimated DALYs due to COVID-19. The first published assessment was performed for Korea, up until the end of April 2020. An assessment, using a similar time frame, followed for Italy. To date, published studies have only included one COVID-19 related health state, or disability weights were country-specific


© 2021 Wyper, Assunção, Colzani, Grant, Haagsma, Lagerweij, Von der Lippe, McDonald, Pires, Porst, Speybroeck and Devleesschauwer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/'>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/]. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/'>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite as

Wyper, G., Assunção, R., Colzani, E., Grant, I., Haagsma, J., Lagerweij, G., Von der Lippe, E., McDonald, S., Pires, S., Porst, M., Speybroeck, N. & Devleesschauwer, B. 2021, 'Burden of Disease Methods: A Guide to Calculate COVID-19 Disability-Adjusted Life Years', International Journal of Public Health, 66, article no: 619011. https://doi.org/10.3389/ijph.2021.619011

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 30 September 2022
Was this page helpful?