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.

  • Teachers work outside their school building for safety reasons as they prepare for the delayed start of the school year due to COVID-19, in Brooklyn, New York City, September 14, 2020, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Report

    This School Year Could Be Another Casualty of the Pandemic

    Nov 16, 2020

    Most U.S. schools are providing either fully remote or hybrid instruction as the pandemic continues to limit students' learning. Students are less prepared for grade-level work and those from vulnerable populations are most at risk of falling behind. Some 80 percent of teachers report burnout.

  • Vials of COVID-19 vaccine, photo by MarsBars/Getty Images

    Report

    COVID-19 'Vaccine Nationalism' Could Cost $1.2 Trillion a Year

    Oct 28, 2020

    Nationalistic behavior by governments may exclude some countries from access to COVID-19 vaccines. This could cost the world economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP. A globally coordinated effort to fight the pandemic is key, not only from a public health perspective but also an economic one.

Explore Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • A man walks past the shuttered Richard Rodgers Theatre, home of the popular musical “Hamilton,” in New York, July 2, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arts and Cultural Workers Are Especially Vulnerable to the Pandemic

    Workers in the arts and cultural industries could be especially vulnerable to the economic shocks of COVID-19. As the United States reopens and decides its future, it should recognize these vulnerabilities, as well as the benefits that the arts and cultural industries offer.

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Children stand on smiley faces to maintain social distancing in the courtyard of a school in Paris, France, May 14, 2020, photo by Benoit Tessier/Reuters

    Q&A

    How to Reopen Schools: Q&A with RAND Experts

    The debate over opening U.S. schools is growing more heated by the day. In this Q&A, RAND researchers discuss the different approaches for reopening, how online learning went in the spring, ways to help disadvantaged students, and more.

    Jul 23, 2020

  • People line up outside a career center, hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claims, Frankfort, Kentucky, June 18, 2020, photo by Bryan Woolston/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is the U.S. Stuck with a Fixed Add-On for Unemployment?

    When COVID-19 led to millions of Americans losing their jobs, Congress moved to increase unemployment benefits by $600 a week. What should happen when those extra benefits expire?

    Jul 23, 2020

  • Kids playing soccer, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    Commentary

    California Could Develop Guidance to Reopen Youth Sports

    There is growing evidence that long-term isolation from school closures has negative impacts on kids' physical and mental health and social development, with impacts potentially lasting for years. Youth sports can help to offset many of these negative impacts. California public health officials could prioritize the development of guidelines that would allow youth sports to reopen safely.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • An aerial view of Wuhan, China, February 21, 2020, photo by Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua/Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Wuhan, from the Cultural Revolution to COVID-19

    Fifty-three years ago, China was in the midst of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and Wuhan was ground zero for battles between armed factions in the streets of cities across the country. In 2020, Wuhan has once again taken center stage as the epicenter of a contagion sweeping not just China, but the world. There are some striking parallels and similarities between the notoriety of this central Chinese city then and now.

    Jul 20, 2020

  • A construction worker on a building site in downtown Los Angeles, California, March 10, 2015, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Declining Commercial Real Estate Demand May Be an Opportunity to Address the Housing Crisis

    The pandemic has led to an estimated 175,000 business closures this spring. And an estimated 40 percent of employed people are working from home full-time. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reallocate portions of the built environment toward the urgent demand for affordable housing.

    Jul 20, 2020

  • 6-year-old Alice Young uses chalk pens to draw a rainbow on her window, in Wimbledon, UK, April 3, 2020, photo by Katie Collins/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Spending More Time at Home Is Bad for Some Children's Health

    Children in Europe are at a higher risk of poor-quality and overcrowded housing. Efforts to improve the quality of children's living environments could be key to mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on children and their households.

    Jul 20, 2020

  • Blog

    COVID Learning Loss, Russian Trolls, Artificial Intelligence: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping students recover learning losses, fighting Russian trolls, racial disparity in unemployment benefits, the race for AI leadership, and more.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Mature Black women working on a computer at home, photo by Goodboy Picture Company/Getty Images

    Commentary

    National Security and Workplace Flexibility Aren't Incompatible After All

    For years, the U.S. Defense Department dismissed workplace flexibility as being incompatible with national security. But during the pandemic, flexibility became a matter of survival for all employers, including Defense. The question now is whether it will keep recent adaptations or go back to its rigid ways.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Social distancing dividers for students in a classroom at St. Benedict School in Montebello, near Los Angeles, California, July 14, 2020, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Back to School: Working Parents Will Need Help from Employers

    Reopening schools would provide much-needed child care for parents who need to work, help feed 30 million U.S. children, and prevent further inequitable learning losses. But it also means exposing more kids to the virus. How can families and employers prepare for the disruptions that lie ahead?

    Jul 17, 2020

  • Antigen and Antibody Tests

    Multimedia

    Antigen and Antibody Tests: What's the Difference?

    RAND's Mahshid Abir describes the two types of tests being used to detect COVID-19 and explains the risks involved with relying on results from antigen testing.

    Jul 16, 2020

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: July-August 2020

    Feature stories explore what research says about learning loss after extended school breaks; how stress and trauma affect individual and community health; and how a critical care surge response tool is helping hospitals during the pandemic.

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Jonathan Welburn stands on Santa Monica's nearly deserted Third Street Promenade in May 2020, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    Balancing Public Health and Economic Effects of Physical Distancing: Q&A with Jonathan Welburn

    Jonathan Welburn, an operations researcher at RAND, has spent years studying how economic shocks ripple outward like a contagion through the economy. He recently helped develop an online tool that policymakers can use to manage the health and economic effects of COVID-19 interventions.

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Blog

    Online Shopping, Living in a Riskier World, Stress in Communities: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Americans' online shopping habits during the pandemic, living in a riskier world, how stress builds in communities, and more.

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Two children on a couch watching TV and their phones, photo by patrickheagney/Getty Images

    Essay

    The COVID Slide: How to Help Students Recover Learning Losses

    Research shows that summer breaks contribute to income-based achievement and opportunity gaps for youth. How can we use what we know about summer learning to help kids in the age of COVID-19?

    Jul 9, 2020

  • Map of the state of Virginia with a virus on it, illustration by Maxchered/Getty Images

    Report

    Which COVID-19 Models Are Useful to Policymakers?

    Forecasting models are widely used to inform policymakers about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of policy responses to it. As models are being developed and improved continually, a new RAND framework can assess which ones are suitable for the state of Virginia.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • The Unequal Nature of Damage from COVID-19

    Multimedia

    The Unequal Nature of the Damage from COVID-19

    Shanthi Nataraj, senior economist with the RAND Corporation, explains which communities and businesses have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Jul 7, 2020

  • What is Contact Tracing?

    Multimedia

    What Is Contact Tracing?

    RAND's Ben Boudreaux describes how contact tracing can be used to track the spread of COVID-19 and explains the differences between manual and automated contact tracing.

    Jul 7, 2020

  • An Amazon worker delivers packages amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Denver, Colorado, April 22, 2020, photo by Kevin Mohatt/Reuters

    Report

    Online Shopping: Many Americans' Habits Haven't Changed During COVID-19

    Almost two-thirds of Americans haven't changed their online shopping habits since the pandemic began. About one-quarter are shopping online more, but 13 percent are actually shopping online less.

    Jul 7, 2020

  • Harvard University campus after it shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 25, 2020, photo by Keiko Hiromi/Reuters

    Commentary

    College in America Could Be Changed Forever

    COVID-19 is threatening to upend the models that both public and private higher education depend on in the United States. As universities consider whether to postpone in-person classes until next year, many parents and students may be questioning the value of a traditional higher education.

    Jul 7, 2020