I interpreted your "balance between economic cost versus the "cost" of illnesses and deaths" as acknowledging this type of trade-off. If you say that's a valid way to frame the issue, then you acknowledge that the trade-off is real.I don't think I have ever made either of those valued judgements. Certainly not with the direct causal link you suggest.
Me saying this is actually a political issue leaves it open whether this as a real trade-off or a perceived one; and it's also a political issue whether a country is able to impose a hard lockdown that disposes of the disease within weeks, or not, as is the cost and effectiveness of the possible interventions.
There is actually data on the economic impact of the Spanish Flu, and medium-term cities that locked down didn't do worse; it's kinda hard to tell because locking down or not loosely correlated with how much a city was growing anyway. I can try and hunt the source down for that, I remember reading about it last year in the spring. (Maybe I even posted about it here.)
To become more personal, "economy" often simply means "rich people". Tax breaks for corporations and rich people being "good for the economy" seems to be a myth, but they're definitely good for corporations and rich people. Same with not caring for the health of employees: definitely good for employers, but doubtful it's good for "the economy". But if you get paid by the big employers, you'll tell the public the latter and not the former.