The Evidence and Tradeoffs for a 'Stay-at-Home' Pandemic Response: A Multidisciplinary Review Examining the Medical, Psychological, Economic and Political Impact of 'Stay-at-Home' Implementation in America

26 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2020

See all articles by Alexis A. Doyle

Alexis A. Doyle

Stanford University

Mollie S.H. Friedlander

Stanford University

Grace D. Li

Stanford University

William Marble

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Courtney J. Smith

Stanford University

Nitisha Baronia

Stanford University

Christopher R. Calkins

Stanford University

Trillium Chang

Stanford University

Mallory Harris

Stanford University

Seth Kolker

Stanford University

Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi

Stanford University

Amanda Zerbe

Stanford University

Malathi Srinivasan

Stanford University

Date Written: April 14, 2020

Abstract

As of mid-April, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has infected over 2 million people and resulted in nearly 150,000 deaths worldwide. This pandemic is principally a global health emergency, but the disease burden unavoidably impacts social dynamics and economic stability. While many countries have acted with swift and unified responses aimed at curbing exponential spread of the virus, pandemic interventions in the United States have been decentralized, particularly in the implementation of stay-at-home orders. To date, 8 states have not enacted statewide shelter-in-place measures and the country lacks a cohesive plan for lifting established stay-at-home orders. A thorough accounting of the evidence surrounding the impacts of stay-at-home measures can help guide both policy decisions and individuals’ actions. In this essay, we provide a multidisciplinary review of the effects and implementation of stay-at-home orders. We examine the epidemiological, health, economic, political, and legal issues relevant to assessing the costs and benefits of stay-at-home orders. We conclude that the evidence is in favor of implementing stay-at-home orders and maintaining them for the near future. The burden of these measures is less onerous than the health, economic, and political consequences associated with an acute spike in infections that would result from prematurely lifting aggressive public health interventions. To our knowledge, we present the most in-depth review of the evidence necessary to rigorously evaluate the full breadth of societal consequences associated with stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Public Health, Health Policy, Pandemic, Economy, Shelter-in-Place

JEL Classification: I180, I100

Suggested Citation

Doyle, Alexis A. and Friedlander, Mollie S.H. and Li, Grace D. and Marble, William and Smith, Courtney J. and Baronia, Nitisha and Calkins, Christopher R. and Chang, Trillium and Harris, Mallory and Kolker, Seth and Traboulsi, Abd Al-Rahman and Zerbe, Amanda and Srinivasan, Malathi, The Evidence and Tradeoffs for a 'Stay-at-Home' Pandemic Response: A Multidisciplinary Review Examining the Medical, Psychological, Economic and Political Impact of 'Stay-at-Home' Implementation in America (April 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3578841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3578841

Alexis A. Doyle

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Mollie S.H. Friedlander

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Grace D. Li

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

William Marble (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Courtney J. Smith

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Nitisha Baronia

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Christopher R. Calkins

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Trillium Chang

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Mallory Harris

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Seth Kolker

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Amanda Zerbe

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Malathi Srinivasan

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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