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Did State Reopenings Increase Social Interactions?
Social distancing—avoiding nonessential movement and largely staying at home—is seen as key to limiting the spread of COVID-19. To promote social distancing, over forty states imposed shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, closing nonessential businesses, banning large gatherings, and encouraging citizens to stay home. Over the course of the last month, virtually all of these states have reopened. However, these reopenings were preceded by a spontaneous increase in mobility and decline in social distancing. Did the reopenings decrease social distancing, or did it ratify ex post what was ...
Impacts of COVID-19: Mitigation Efforts versus Herd Immunity
The rapid spread of COVID-19 is having devastating effects on the global economy. With death curves beginning to bend, governments will soon need to determine when and how to relax lockdown measures. The crucial question is: what are the public health consequences of reopening the economy? In this article, we argue that the observed decline in daily deaths could be due to two scenarios: social distancing measures and herd immunity. Both the widely used SIR model and the data collected thus far cannot distinguish these two scenarios. Such an identiﬁcation problem generates a large degree of ...
Voluntary and Mandatory Social Distancing: Evidence on COVID-19 Exposure Rates from Chinese Provinces and Selected Countries
This paper considers a modification of the standard Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) model of epidemics that allows for different degrees of compulsory as well as voluntary social distancing. It is shown that the fraction of the population that self-isolates varies with the perceived probability of contracting the disease. Implications of social distancing both on the epidemic and recession curves are investigated and their trade off is simulated under a number of different social distancing and economic participation scenarios. We show that mandating social distancing is very effective ...
Work from Home After the COVID-19 Outbreak
Based on rich novel survey data on almost 5,000 working age adults, we document that 35.2 percent of the workforce worked entirely from home in May 2020, up from 8.2 percent in February 2020. Highly educated, high-income and white individuals were much more likely to shift to remote work and to maintain employment following the virus outbreak. Using available estimates of the potential number of home-based workers suggests that a large majority (71.7 percent) of U.S. workers that could work from home, effectively did so in May. We provide some evidence indicating that apart from the potential ...