Update: We started this project as described below in late March. Now in mid-June lock downs have indeed brought the spread of disease under control in places where they have been implemented and re-opening is beginning. We remain hopeful that weather or technological progress may provide a layer of safety, but meanwhile different locales are reopening in different ways and we remain desperate for the knowledge of what works and what does not.
The Situation: We expect that strong measures to keep people at home will, over the next weeks and months, bring the rate of spread of Covid-19 under control. It may be that by that time weather or technological progress will enable the resumption of normal activities but this is far from certain, unlikely even, and there needs to be planning for the end-game: coping with the disease while minimizing socio-economic harm. The core questions are, roughly, “How to keep R under 1 with as small social costs as possible” and “How to minimize the health risk at an acceptable social cost”.
Statement of Purpose: The purpose of this group is to draw on the talents and technical expertise of researchers to provide cost benefit analysis of mitigation measures and policy recommendations to be adopted, particularly for the endgame. The aim is to provide a conduit through which research can flow: matching expertise with questions and taking advantage of economies of scale to establish a credible organization that will be taken seriously by policy makers. The disease is international and so are we.
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