Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19: Lessons from the K-SEIR Model

53 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020 Last revised: 17 May 2022

See all articles by Alex Lipton

Alex Lipton

Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Marcos Lopez de Prado

Cornell University - Operations Research & Industrial Engineering; Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; True Positive Technologies

Date Written: June 9, 2020


We develop a detailed epidemiological multi-factor model, the K-Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Removed (K-SEIR) model, as well as several simpler sub-models, as its building blocks. The general model enables us to account for all the relevant COVID-19 features, its disparate impact on different population groups, and interactions within and between the groups. It also includes the availability (or lack thereof) of spare hospital beds and intensive care units (ICU) to accommodate the pent-up demand due to the pandemic. We use the most recent hospitalization and mortality data to calibrate the model. Since our model is multi-factor, it can be used to simulate and analyze the consequences of the sheltering-in-place for each specific group, as well as compare lives saved and lost due to this measure. We show that in countries with well-developed healthcare systems and a population willing to abide by sensible containment and mitigation procedures, the sheltering-in-place of the entire community is excessive and harmful when considered holistically. At the same time, sealing nursing homes as best as possible to avoid high infection and mortality rates is an absolute must.

Note: Funding: This research is self-funded.

Conflict of Interest: We have no competing interests of any kind.

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, SEIR, K-SEIR, epidemiology, case fatality rate, reproductive numbers, lockdowns

JEL Classification: G0, G1, G2, G15, G24, E44

Suggested Citation

Lipton, Alex and López de Prado, Marcos and López de Prado, Marcos, Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19: Lessons from the K-SEIR Model (June 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Alex Lipton

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Marcos López de Prado (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Operations Research & Industrial Engineering ( email )

237 Rhodes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States


Abu Dhabi Investment Authority ( email )

211 Corniche Road
Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi PO Box3600
United Arab Emirates


True Positive Technologies ( email )

United States


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