Brookings – “States across the U.S. are considering paths to re-opening following months of stay-at-home orders and a widespread shuttering of the economy in response to the threat of COVID-19. Policymakers now face the task of crafting strategies that will allow resumption of activity without producing additional waves of infection that could do even more damage to health and economies. Looking to successful examples from around the world, many of these strategies involve widespread testing, coupled with contact tracing and selective quarantine. Yet many questions that are important in designing such policies remain difficult to answer. Getting the answers “right” may be the difference between successful containment or a damaging resurgence of infection. Some of these questions include:
- How effective can a test-and-trace policy really be in containing future waves of infection? Is such an approach feasible in the United States?
- How much testing capacity is needed for effective containment? How much capacity to trace contacts will be needed?
- How accurate must tests be?
- What is the most efficient way to use limited testing capacity?
- How might success depend on still-uncertain assumptions about the spread of the disease itself?
- What social distancing measures might still be needed to enhance containment?…”