COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from RAND

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread illness and death, economic devastation, day-to-day challenges, and long-term uncertainty. RAND research and analysis provide insights on the effects of this monumental crisis—and can help determine the best ways forward.

As the pandemic continues to ravage communities all over the world, health care workers are stretched thin; leaders are balancing decisions about reopening schools and businesses while preventing further spread; and countries, states, and localities have begun massive campaigns to produce and distribute vaccines.

What are the implications of a vaccine rollout that fails to support poor countries? What do we know about vaccine hesitancy among Americans? And how is the pandemic exacerbating inequities in health, economic, and education outcomes?

These are just a few of the important questions that RAND researchers are tackling. Their efforts can help inform immediate policy responses to address the disastrous effects of COVID-19—and help communities, businesses, and individuals recover long after the disease stops spreading.

Vaccinations, Health Care, and Well-Being

  • COVAX program vaccines arrive at the Mons. Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, in San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, March 11, 2021, photo by Jose Cabezas/Reuters


    America Can Still Deliver on Global Vaccine Diplomacy

    Dec 28, 2021

    It is hard to see how science alone can end the pandemic without the rallying power of global diplomacy. The United States has played a leadership role in previous outbreaks, such as Ebola. It could play a similar role now to help consign the current pandemic to epidemic status.

Workers and the Economy

  • Britni Mann waits to speak with potential employers during a job fair at Hembree Park in Roswell, Georgia, May 13, 2021, photo by Christopher Aluka Berry/Reuters


    Will Unemployment Insurance Be Reformed? Ask Businesses, Not Workers

    Sep 15, 2021

    The expiration of pandemic benefits points to the flaw at the heart of unemployment insurance: The constituency that pays for benefits isn't the constituency who receives them. Lasting reform to the unemployment insurance system will mean finding a way to benefit employers directly.


  • Tracey Pucci helps her son Foxton Harding, 12, with a school assignment for Northshore Middle School, which has moved to online only schooling for two weeks due to coronavirus concerns, at their home in Bothell, Washington, U.S. March 11, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters


    The Rise of Virtual Schools

    Aug 30, 2021

    Since the pandemic began, America's school districts have been offering more remote instruction options. This includes a ninefold increase in the number of districts running standalone virtual schools.

Vulnerable Populations

  • A woman receives a box of donated food items during the COVID-19 pandemic in her car, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images


    Striking Rates of Food Insecurity in Two Pittsburgh Neighborhoods

    Feb 9, 2021

    The number of Americans experiencing food insecurity has increased since the pandemic began. And rates are higher among African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. Proactive and aggressive policy actions could help reduce the inequities in places like Pittsburgh's Hill District and Homewood neighborhoods.

National Security and International Affairs

  • Security personnel at the Wuhan Institute of Virology during the visit by a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19, in Wuhan, China, February 3, 2021, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters


    Global Health Data Sharing: The Case of China and the Two Coronavirus Pandemics

    Nov 22, 2021

    Tensions over the coronavirus seem to be prompting China to isolate itself in terms of data sharing. But the first coronavirus pandemic in 2003 actually helped open China to health collaborations with other countries. World leaders may be doing their citizens a disservice when they allow toxic geopolitics to undercut trust and international collaborations that took decades to build.

View all of RAND's COVID-19 related work