Could Periodic Nonpharmaceutical Intervention Strategies Produce Better COVID-19 Health and Economic Outcomes?

Published in: Journal on Policy and Complex Systems, Volume 7, Number 1, pages 81–118 (Spring 2021). doi: 10.18278/jpcs.7.1.8

Posted on on October 20, 2021

by Raffaele Vardavas, Pedro Nascimento de Lima, Lawrence Baker

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We developed a COVID-19 transmission model to compare the effects of nonpharmaceutical public health interventions (NPIs) on health and economic outcomes. An interdisciplinary approach informed the selection and use of multiple NPIs, combining quantitative modeling of the health and economic impacts of interventions with qualitative assessments of other important considerations (e.g., cost, ease of implementation, equity). We used our model to analyze strategies that periodically switch between a base NPI and a high NPI level. We find that this systematic strategy could have produced similar health outcomes as static strategies but better social welfare and economic outcomes. Our findings suggest that there are opportunities to shape the tradeoffs between economic and health outcomes by carefully evaluating a more comprehensive range of reopening policies.

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