Reason Foundation’s series of policy briefs on how to recover from the coronavirus pandemic include:
- COVID-19 Lockdown Problems and Alternative Strategies to Reopening the Economy
- COVID-19: Lessons From the Past and Other Jurisdictions
- Risk-Based Tools to Limit the Spread of Sars-Cov-2: Information on Activity Risks and Industry Standards
- The COVID-19 Status App: A Risk-Based Tool to Enable Businesses to Reopen While Limiting the Spread of Sars-Cov-2
- Monitor-Test-Trace-Isolate: Policies for Understanding and Reacting to COVID-19 Infections
Many countries have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by locking down whole economies. While this blunt approach may have reduced transmission of the virus, it has also starved economies, making the medicine often as bad as the ailment. It has become increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all lockdown approach was the crudest and costliest way to dampen the spread of the virus. A much more refined approach would have been at least as effective and far less costly. It is now time to end the lockdowns and switch to a decentralized approach that enables individuals, businesses, and communities to assess and manage risks.
Variants of such an approach have been used by several countries that have successfully controlled their coronavirus outbreaks by curtailing transmission from the most likely sources and protecting the most vulnerable while allowing for others to tailor their activities according to the risks using a range of risk management tools to enable for a safe reopening of the economy. Meanwhile, in the U.S., many states are not taking advantage of those lessons learned as they gradually end their lockdowns.
We undertook an extensive review of evidence regarding approaches to (a) limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; (b) reducing mortality from COVID-19; (c) enabling the maintenance of supply chains and essential services; (d) enabling a more widespread opening of the economy once effective measures have been put in place to reduce transmission and contain local outbreaks.
Based on this review, we identified approaches addressed in a series of policy briefs that, if taken together, form a coherent and effective strategy. Many of these actions are best undertaken by the private sector. Some require government action—though in most cases that action is at a relatively decentralized level: town, county, city, or other local jurisdiction, rather than state or federal. Overall, they can be construed as a public-private partnership.