Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus first identified in late 2019. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting nearly every facet of daily life and claiming lives across the globe.

As leaders grapple with how to respond, RAND experts seek to address and inform policy options and examine how different countries and communities are managing the crisis. Topics include health care capacity, telemedicine, social distancing, countering misinformation, economic effects, school closures, and online learning.

  • Chilean president Sebastián Piñera receives the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines in Santiago de Chile, Chile, December 24, 2020, photo by Sebastian Rodríguez/Presidencia/Reuters

    Commentary

    Vaccine Nationalism Has Real Economic Consequences

    Dec 30, 2020

    Vaccine nationalism, in which countries prioritize their domestic needs at the expense of others, will have significant global economic consequences. Major economies actually have more to gain by helping to make an effective COVID-19 vaccine widely available globally.

  • Volunteers help at an annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway, Inglewood, California, November 23, 2020, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Has Offered Opportunities for Communities to Come Together

    Jan 13, 2021

    The past year has been among the most turbulent in recent memory. Might recent crises provide a catalyst for a renewed sense of civic engagement that transcends some of the race and class divisions COVID-19 has exacerbated?

Explore Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Digital display showing a map of the United States with areas of COVID-19 and a virus rendering, photo by da-kuk/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Is COVID-19 a National Security Emergency?

    Developing an effective national response to COVID-19 could begin with elevating the pandemic from a public health emergency to a national security crisis. The novel coronavirus may not be a threat that the military can defeat, but that doesn't mean the United States shouldn't set it in its sights and go on the offensive against it.

    Aug 6, 2020

  • People socially distance as they protest in support of laid-off hotel workers without health care amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in Los Angeles, California, July 23, 2020, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    L.A. Has the Nation's Highest Unemployment. For Some Groups, It's Even Worse Than That.

    Los Angeles and its neighboring counties are among the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 recession. The shockingly high average unemployment rates only tell part of the story, however. For the poor and some racial and ethnic groups, the jobs picture is far worse.

    Aug 6, 2020

  • News Release

    News Release

    Many States Lack Flexible Voting and Registration Policies to Address Safety Concerns of Conducting Elections During ...

    Many states continue to lack the policies and preparations needed to address safety concerns of holding elections in November, despite the lessons learned in recent 2020 primary elections that were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • How Can We Achieve Herd Immunity?

    Multimedia

    How Can We Achieve Herd Immunity?

    RAND senior economist Krishna Kumar describes several factors that could affect the likelihood of achieving herd immunity against COVID-19.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • Map of U.S. showing voting process flexibility by state

    Tool

    Are States Ready for a COVID-19 Election?

    Is there automatic voter registration? Can citizens vote by mail without an excuse? Are there options to cast ballots early? Answering questions such as these can help determine how prepared states are to conduct elections safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • A poll worker disinfects booths after every use during early voting in Knoxville, Tennessee, July 17, 2020, photo by Cavin Mattheis/News Sentinel

    Project

    Conducting Safe Elections During a Pandemic

    There may be a continued need this fall for public health interventions—such as social distancing, reduced occupancy in indoor spaces, and aggressive sanitizing protocols—to limit the spread of COVID-19. How can the United States safely and securely hold its elections during this ongoing pandemic?

    Aug 5, 2020

  • A sign directs voters on the day of the primary election in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 23, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Tool

    Database of State Voting Laws: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic

    One way to think about preparedness for conducting elections during a pandemic is to consider how flexible state election processes are in terms of where, when, and how voters can register and cast their ballots. States with more flexibility may be better positioned to conduct elections safely in November 2020.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Crisis Beyond the Crises: MENA's Youth Unemployment Problem

    An unwavering commitment to fostering youth employment- and thus to overcome the crisis beyond the crises- seems necessary to ensure a prosperous future for the youthful MENA region, and critical to guarantee stability and security in the time to come.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • A voter casts her ballot on the day of the primary election in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 23, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Report

    An Assessment of State Voting Processes: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic

    To conduct elections safely this fall, states need registration and voting options that can happen remotely or can enable social distancing. Based on their policies, which states are most and least prepared to do this?

    Aug 5, 2020

  • Maryland election judge Cassandra Campbell watches a voter place a ballot in a drop box, College Park, Maryland, June 2, 2020, photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

    Report

    Options for Ensuring Safe Elections Amid COVID-19

    The pandemic poses a serious threat to state election plans in 2020. There is still time for states to make policy changes, but those changes come with potential risks to public safety, and to election integrity, access, and logistics.

    Aug 5, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Linking Statistics with Testing Policy to Manage COVID-19 in the Community

    Monitoring the evolution of the pandemic in our society is crucial. This discussion highlights some very important principles of statistical sampling that are relevant to formulating policy.

    Aug 4, 2020

  • Ballet dancer on stage in an empty theater, photo by vgajic/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Pandemic Is a Disaster for Artists

    The arts as we know them are likely to be shut down for the foreseeable future and the vast majority of artists have likely lost some or all of their income. How many artists are out of work, and what could be done to help them?

    Aug 4, 2020

  • Benefits of Job Sharing

    Multimedia

    The Benefits of Job Sharing

    RAND associate economist Jason Ward explains how job sharing may help to reduce the economic shock of COVID-19 and prevent layoffs.

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Low angle shot of a group of doctors stacking hands in a hospital, photo by Hiraman/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Out of the Ashes: Forging the Post-Pandemic U.S. Health System

    With shifting insights, new problems, and exacerbation of old problems revealed by the pandemic, innovative solutions in the U.S. health system are being adopted where rapid change would normally have been rare. There is both an opportunity and a responsibility to assess how these changes are working and where they can improve health, reduce inequity, and save money.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • Blog

    China in 2050, Using Mobile Tools to Track COVID-19, Telemedicine: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the future of U.S.-China competition, privacy concerns surrounding mobile tools used to track COVID-19, how telemedicine can help patients access specialized care, and more.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • COVID-19 content displayed on a mobile phone, photo by da-kuk/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    COVID-19 Mobile Surveillance Tools Raise Privacy Concerns

    Dozens of countries are using mobile phone tools and data sources for COVID-19 tracking. These tools are beneficial, but they also have the potential for harm. As public health agencies consider using mobile surveillance tools, they will need to address privacy concerns.

    Jul 30, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Data Privacy During Pandemics: A Scorecard Approach for Evaluating the Privacy Implications of COVID-19 Mobile Phone Surveillance Programs

    As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worldwide have deployed mobile phone surveillance programs to augment public health interventions. The authors examine how these programs can be implemented in ways that protect privacy.

    Jul 30, 2020

  • Man speaking to his psychologist via telemedicine, photo by Merlas/Getty Images

    News Release

    Telemedicine Can Help Safety-Net Providers Expand Specialized Medical Services

    Safety-net medical providers can substantially increase their telemedicine services with modest investments in new staff and technology, a move that can help them expand patients' access to specialized medical care.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • Father and daughter having a video call with their doctor, photo by Geber86/Getty Images

    Report

    Experiences of Community Health Centers in Expanding Telemedicine

    Researchers evaluated the experiences of health centers that participated in the Sustainable Models of Telehealth in the Safety Net initiative, which aimed to support the growth of telemedicine.

    Jul 29, 2020

  • A family pushes a cart after receiving groceries during a Mother's Day food distribution event organized, Los Angeles, California, May 9, 2020, photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

    Report

    How Smart Cities Could Improve Open Data Portals

    Open data portals are accessible to residents of “smart” cities. How can city leaders make these portals more useful? Los Angeles's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic provides lessons.

    Jul 27, 2020