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The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic required significant public health interventions from local governments. Early in the pandemic, RAND researchers developed a decision support tool to provide policymakers with insight into the trade-offs they might face when choosing among nonpharmaceutical intervention levels. Using an updated version of the model, the researchers performed a stress-test of a variety of alternative reopening plans, using California as an example. This Perspective presents the general lessons learned from these experiments and discusses four characteristics of the best reopening strategies.

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This research was funded by Mala Gaonkar and Surgo Foundation UK Limited and the Anne and James Rothenberg Dissertation Award and conducted by the Social and Behavioral Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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