No Need to Go Nuclear?

Less disruptive and costly COVID-19 restrictions can work as well as more intrusive steps like lockdowns to slow the spread of SARS-CoV2, according to a new study ranking the effectiveness of government interventions around the world.

The researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and elsewhere posed “what-if” scenarios in different countries to guide modeling of future interventions.

Key takeaways:

Most effective: Curfews, lockdowns, restricting gatherings in shops and restaurants, mandatory work-from-home measures, and school closures. These "nuclear" options can be “highly effective,” but exact a significant toll on society, the economy, and human rights.

Still effective, less intrusive: Packages of less restrictive steps, such as land border restrictions, government support to vulnerable populations (such as food assistance) and strong risk-communication strategies.

Bonus and a Caveat: People may be more likely to cooperate with less stringent measures. However, the success of less-intrusive interventions depends heavily on country context.

Nature Human Behavior

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