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Adaptive Policies to Balance Health Benefits and Economic Costs of Physical Distancing Interventions during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Abstract

Policy makers need decision tools to determine when to use physical distancing interventions to maximize the control of COVID-19 while minimizing the economic and social costs of these interventions. We describe a pragmatic decision tool to characterize adaptive policies that combine real-time surveillance data with clear decision rules to guide when to trigger, continue, or stop physical distancing interventions during the current pandemic. In model-based experiments, we find that adaptive policies characterized by our proposed approach prevent more deaths and require a shorter overall duration of physical distancing than alternative physical distancing policies. Our proposed approach can readily be extended to more complex models and interventions.

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