A new diagnostic tool has been developed by a non-profit and non-partisan agency RAND Corporation to help the health officials to predict the effects of lockdown and social distancing on the pandemic spread. This tool is available for free.
The COVID-19 control tool collects and combines information from various epidemiological models and combines them with a number of economical models. It is to prefect the effects of disease controlling strategies as per public health parameters. For example, it links the transmission and spread of coronavirus to predict its consequences on the country’s economy.
As the healthcare units are working day and night to control the transmission of this virus and the government is following recovery plans after the lockdown, this tool is here to suggest the possible outcomes of any such decision, if finalized.
For now, this COVID-19 control tool is suggesting that ending the lockdown and re-opening the public centers would cause an increase in the coronavirus deaths. It would bring more people, especially the suspected patients of coronavirus in contact with other healthy individuals. And this way it could cause a rebound of this deadly infection.
Considering that all governments are now planning to ease the restrictions as this virus somehow seems halted, there is no way to determine whether or not this decision would affect the re-emergence of the COVID-19.
The COVID-19 control tool is easily available for everyone, from a common man to a policymaker, anyone can access it through the RAND website, online. This tool would be updated on a daily basis as the new data comes in the attention of authorities.
This tool was created considering the previous pandemics and their spread mechanisms by taking the help of peer-reviewed research literature and comparing it with data obtained from these coronavirus pandemic records.
Initially, this tool has analyzed five portfolios and each one of which is different from others by intensity. They include close schools, close bars, close restaurants, large events, close non-essential businesses, etc.
Users can select a portfolio of these strategies and let the tool analyze the consequences of it. It includes both public health consequences and economic consequences after the lockdown is lifted and restrictions on social distancing and public gatherings are eased.
The tool is much likely to generate all estimates as per change in the prevalence in coronavirus cases, deaths, healthcare facilities, hospital capacity, availability of medical equipment i.e. ventilators, and gross income of the state.
Another analysis would help to calculate a rather qualitative report telling the effectiveness, feasibility, price estimate, and unintentional consequences of any individual policy or strategy. It even includes those strategies that directly relate to the isolation-based schemes such as imposing the travel restrictions, diagnostic tests, isolating the infected people, etc.
In addition to this, it also includes behavioral recommendations and policies such as wearing masks being made compulsory, asking people to follow social distancing, banning large scale gatherings of people, and advise to remain indoors.
Raffaele Vardavas is a research mathematician who has expertise in model designing. He comments on this new COVID-10 control tool that the federal government and all local bodies have taken respective measures to prevent coronavirus spread. However, this tool was essential to help them analyze the after-effects of their strategies.
It would be better to know if any plan of action currently under discussion has any valuable effect on the larger population or not. The basis on the results of this test, the policymakers can modify their decision on whether or not to change these recommendations on social distancing, public gatherings, and others.
Aaron Strong is an expert economist who has added his efforts in designing this tool. He shared that there has been a dramatic shift in coronavirus’s spread ever since the US has taken a series of serious steps to control it. And this new Coronavirus control tool can help them to take both public health and economic challenges side by side to avoid any unwanted results in the future.