Urgently Needed for Policy Guidance: An Operational Tool for Monitoring the COVID-19 Pandemic
14 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020 Last revised: 8 Apr 2020
Date Written: March 30, 2020
The radical uncertainty around the current COVID19 pandemics requires that governments around the world should be able to track in real time not only how the virus spreads but, most importantly, what policies are effective in keeping the spread of the disease under check. To improve the quality of health decision-making, we argue that it is necessary to monitor and compare acceleration/deceleration of confirmed cases over health policy responses, across countries. To do so, we provide a simple mathematical tool to estimate the convexity/concavity of trends in epidemiological surveillance data. Had it been applied at the onset of the crisis, it would have offered more opportunities to measure the impact of the policies undertaken in different Asian countries, and to allow European and North-American governments to draw quicker lessons from these Asian experiences when making policy decisions. Our tool can be especially useful as the epidemic is currently extending to lower-income African and South American countries, some of which have weaker health systems.
Keywords: Acceleration, Convexity, COVID-19, Data Dashboard, Detection of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Policy, Nowcasting, Sensitivity, Testing
JEL Classification: I18, H12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation