MIT has developed a model to determine the efficacy of quarantine measures and better predict the spread of the virus. The model found that in places where strong measures were implemented quickly, the quarantine effort could effectively curb the spread of the virus. In places where the quarantine efforts were rolled out slowly, the effort to slow the spread has been less effective. The model predicts when the coronavirus ‘plateau’ will take place, finding that the cases aren’t likely to start stagnating until some time between April 15 and April 20. It says that restrictions on quarantine can only be made when multiple conditions are met, including when the transmission is controlled, hospitals have capacities to meet all the needs of the public, workplaces have effective preventative measures in place, and more.
The paper published on March 27 by the American Enterprise Institute compared the economic costs of businesses staying closed, which causes a steep drop in the gross domestic product, with the economic benefits of a lockdown. The research found that for at least two more months, the economic benefits of controlling the virus and preventing illness and death are greater than the economic cost of closing most non-essential businesses. It also found that even after the lockdown is lifted, we must keep in place more moderate measures, such as wearing face masks and limiting public gatherings, until a vaccine or an effective drug or treatment becomes widely available.
The paper projects that the US may have to endure social distancing measures — such as stay-at-home orders and school closures — until 2022, unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or treatment or vaccine becomes available. Another round of the virus is possible once social distancing measures are lifted. Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.