Policymakers make decisions about COVID-19 management in the face of considerable uncertainty. We convened multiple modeling teams to evaluate reopening strategies for a mid-sized county in the United States, in a novel process designed to fully express scientific uncertainty while reducing linguistic uncertainty and cognitive biases. For the scenarios considered, the consensus from 17 distinct models was that a second outbreak will occur within 6 months of reopening, unless schools and non-essential workplaces remain closed. Up to half the population could be infected with full workplace reopening; non-essential business closures reduced median cumulative infections by 82%. Intermediate reopening interventions identified no win-win situations; there was a trade-off between public health outcomes and duration of workplace closures. Aggregate results captured twice the uncertainty of individual models, providing a more complete expression of risk for decision-making purposes.
Shea K, Borchering RK, Probert WJM, Howerton E, Bogich TL, Li S, Van Panhuis WG, Viboud C, Aguas R, Belov A, Bhargava SH, Cavany S, Chang JC, Chen C, Chen J, Chen S, Chen Y, Childs LM, Chow CC, Crooker I, Del Valle SY, España G, Fairchild G, Gerkin RC, Germann TC, Gu Q, Guan X, Guo L, Hart GR, Hladish TJ, Hupert N, Janies D, Kerr CC, Klein DJ, Klein E, Lin G, Manore C, Meyers LA, Mittler J, Mu K, Núñez RC, Oidtman R, Pasco R, Piontti APY, Paul R, Pearson CAB, Perdomo DR, Perkins TA, Pierce K, Pillai AN, Rael RC, Rosenfeld K, Ross CW, Spencer JA, Stoltzfus AB, Toh KB, Vattikuti S, Vespignani A, Wang L, White L, Xu P, Yang Y, Yogurtcu ON, Zhang W, Zhao Y, Zou D, Ferrari M, Pannell D, Tildesley M, Seifarth J, Johnson E, Biggerstaff M, Johansson M, Slayton RB, Levander J, Stazer J, Salerno J, Runge MC. (2020). COVID-19 reopening strategies at the county level in the face of uncertainty: Multiple Models for Outbreak Decision Support. medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences