Hammond, Ross A.; Joseph T. Ornstein; Rob Purcell; Matthew D. Haslam and Matt Kasman

Efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have led to episodic and sometimes drastic shutdowns of economies, schools, and social life around the world. Policymakers in the United States and many other countries have had to balance resumption of these activities with controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus, and have adopted heterogeneous blends of policy actions to do so—including testing, contact tracing, quarantine, mask mandates, and (more recently) vaccines. Yet key quantitative questions central to designing or implementing effective containment policy (including specific capacities needed, timing, and synergy or substitutability of options) have remained difficult to answer in the face of both high heterogeneity among individuals and contexts and continued uncertainty about the underlying epidemiological characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.