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.

  • 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

    Commentary

    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.

  • Research Brief

    Early Insights from the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative

    Dec 20, 2021

    Vaccination rates among communities that identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) continue to lag relative to the total population. To increase vaccine confidence and access for these populations, the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative employs hyper-local, community-led strategies.

Explore Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Blog

    Summer Learning, America's Middle Class, Waking Up After the Pandemic: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to make summer learning count, U.S. deterrence in the ‘gray zone,’ why so many Americans are stuck outside the middle class, and more.

    Apr 23, 2021

  • Still from a documentary by a North Korean TV station, titled “The efforts and sacrifices (of the Chairman of the North Korean State Affairs Committee, Kim Jong-un) for the people in 2020,” broadcast February 1, 2021, photo by KCTV via / Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Exacerbates North Korea's Bad Choices

    Recently, Kim Jong-un admitted that North Korea is facing a dire situation. It was surprising that he would admit circumstances which at face value suggest major failures on his part. Why is Kim admitting that such circumstances are developing in the North now?

    Apr 20, 2021

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the conference of the Central Military Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 23, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Think the Coronavirus Is Curbing Kim's Atomic Appetite? Think Again

    Coronavirus or not, Kim Jong-un's appetite for nuclear and missile bargaining with the United States remains intact. This likely spells further weapons demonstrations from North Korea, with potentially longer-range missile demonstrations to test Washington's resolve in its nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.

    Apr 20, 2021

  • Blog

    COVID-19 Demographic Trends, Vaccinating 'High-Contact' People, the Iran Threat Network: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how the pandemic is shaping demographic trends, targeting vaccines to "high-contact" people, the Iran Threat Network, and more.

    Apr 16, 2021

  • Elementary schoolchildren wearing face masks in a classroom, photo by kevajefimija/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Commit Now to Get Summer Programming Right

    When summer programs are targeted to needs, intentionally designed, and well attended, they produce positive outcomes in math and reading. But these programs need federal support, and they require early planning.

    Apr 15, 2021

  • Busy family morning in the kitchen, photo by Getty Images

    Commentary

    Waking Up in a Post–COVID-19 World

    When it comes to morning wake schedules, adjusting to post–COVID-19 life may be a challenge. Taking small steps now may help you prepare for the shock of returning to the morning rush.

    Apr 14, 2021

  • Large group of people making a virus shape, photo by NiseriN/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Impact of the Pandemic on Demographic Trends

    Key demographic trends in fertility, mortality, and migration are responsible for shifts in the overall structure of any population. COVID-19 has affected each of these, with potentially important implications.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Employees assemble ventilator components behind a plastic curtain at a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility in Madison, Wisconsin, April 21, 2020, photo by Daniel Acker/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supply Chains and National Security

    Lessons from the pandemic will be sorted through for years. But one thing seems very clear: The United States is not ready in a policy or infrastructure or even physical-capacity sense to respond to major shocks to its supply chains.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • Blog

    Trust in the CDC, Teaching Students with Disabilities, Russian Mercenaries: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses declining trust in the CDC, insights from educators about teaching students with disabilities, Russian mercenaries, and more.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • Nurse practitioner Lisa Flemmons and chief nursing officer Robin L. Steaban give a thumbs up after Flemmons received a COVID-19 vaccine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, December 17, 2020, photo by George Walker IV/USA Today via Reuters

    Commentary

    Who Can Effectively Champion the Vax?

    Vaccine hesitancy appears to be one more hurdle in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC would typically lead a campaign to overcome it, but Americans' trust in the CDC has declined measurably. Health care professionals may be more effective messengers when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • Nurse Nicole McCurrach draws up COVID-19 vaccinations at Richmond raceway in Richmond, Virginia, March 4, 2021, photo by Julia Rendleman/Reuters

    Commentary

    Target Vaccine to 'High-Contact' People

    Actively seeking out people with lots of contacts for vaccination could bring the epidemic under control much more quickly than vaccinating people at random. Vaccinating just 15 percent of the population would be enough to crush the epidemic—so long as it was the right 15 percent.

    Apr 9, 2021

  • A statue of Lady Justice wearing a face mask, photos by Ulf, Honcharuk/Adobe Stock; design by Peter Soriano/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Lessons Learned from the Justice System's Pandemic Response

    Incarcerated populations, corrections staff, court personnel, and law enforcement were hit hard by COVID-19. At the same time, national protests after the killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans increased pressure for criminal justice reform. Insights from this time could help the justice system prepare for future challenges.

    Apr 8, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Public Trust of the Centers for Disease Control Falls During Coronavirus Pandemic

    Public trust in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has fallen during the coronavirus pandemic, with the decline bringing overall population-level trust in the agency to the same lower level of trust long held by Black Americans about the agency.

    Apr 5, 2021

  • The exterior of the Tom Harkin Global Communications Center, otherwise known as Building 19, located on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Roybal Campus in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Report

    Trust in the CDC Declined During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    From May to October 2020, some Americans lost trust in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drop in trust was particularly significant among people who intended to vote for a candidate other than Joe Biden in the 2020 election or did not intend to vote at all. This suggests that views of the CDC are now strongly politicized.

    Apr 5, 2021

  • Elderly Asian woman on wheelchair at home with daughter taking care of her, photo by Toa55/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Rescue Plan Help for Family Caregivers Is a First Step

    Unpaid caregivers have been a critical part of the functioning U.S. economy, serving as the backbone of the health system, since long before the pandemic started. Adding them to the American Rescue Plan was an important step, but even after the pandemic is over, their financial security will need long-term protection.

    Apr 5, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    SNAP Participants and High Levels of Food Insecurity in the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic

    We examined how people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly Black participants, and participants residing in food deserts.

    Apr 2, 2021

  • Swing balancer for two built of wooden cubes, photo by Natalia/AdobeStock

    Journal Article

    Americans' View of the Impact of COVID-19: Perspectives on Racial Impacts and Equity

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disparate effect on African Americans and Latino groups. But how much public awareness is there of inequities? And how has the pandemic changed perceptions of equity and access to health care?

    Mar 30, 2021

  • Blog

    Supporting Asian Americans, U.S. Gun Policy, Climate Migrants: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how to support Asian Americans, the U.S. gun policy debate, the education “arms race,” and more.

    Mar 26, 2021

  • Radiology tech preparing a patient for a mammogram, photo by AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

    News Release

    Use of Common Cancer Screenings Rebounded Quickly After Dropping at Start of the Pandemic

    Screenings for breast cancer and colon cancer dropped dramatically during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, but use of the procedures returned to near-normal levels by the end of July 2020.

    Mar 22, 2021

  • The Role of Data in the Fight Against COVID-19

    Multimedia

    The Role of Data in the Fight Against COVID-19

    RAND senior physician policy researcher Mahshid Abir discusses the importance of accurate and efficient reporting of COVID-related outcomes in the fight against COVID-19.

    Mar 22, 2021