The Priority for the Social-Distancing Period
— April 1, 2020
By A. Michael Spence
Because the virus can apparently be transmitted by those without symptoms, it has spread widely and under the radar of public-health authorities. To prevent health systems from being overwhelmed, aggressive social-distancing and self-isolation measures have been broadly implemented and accepted by the public. Whether they will slow the rate of transmission and limit the number of critical cases in the West remains to be seen.
Evidence that the epidemic has been curtailed or even contained in China and some other Asian economies is promising. These countries, however, relied not just on social distancing, but also on a vast array of tools that have not been extensively deployed in Europe and the US: widespread testing, contact tracing, mandated isolation, and so forth.
Read the full Project Syndicate article.
A. Michael Spence is a William R. Berkley Professor in Economics & Business.