Estimating and Forecasting Disease Scenarios for Covid-19 with an Sir Model

150 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020 Last revised: 11 Mar 2021

See all articles by Andrew Atkeson

Andrew Atkeson

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Tao A. Zha

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Emory University

Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

This paper presents a procedure for estimating and forecasting disease scenarios for COVID-19 using a structural SIR model of the pandemic. Our procedure combines the flexibility of noteworthy reduced-form approaches for estimating the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic to date with the benefits of a simple SIR structural model for interpreting these estimates and constructing forecast and counterfactual scenarios. We present forecast scenarios for a devastating second wave of the pandemic as well as for a long and slow continuation of current levels of infections and daily deaths. In our counterfactual scenarios, we find that there is no clear answer to the question of whether earlier mitigation measures would have reduced the long run cumulative death toll from this disease. In some cases, we find that it would have, but in other cases, we find the opposite — earlier mitigation would have led to a higher long-run death toll.

Suggested Citation

Atkeson, Andrew G. and Kopecky, Karen A. and Zha, Tao A., Estimating and Forecasting Disease Scenarios for Covid-19 with an Sir Model (June 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27335, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3621841

Andrew G. Atkeson (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
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Tao A. Zha

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States
404-521-8353 (Phone)
404-521-8956 (Fax)

Emory University ( email )

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