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Balancing Lives and Livelihoods Using Contagion Risk Based COVID-19 Management: An Ecological Study on Bangladesh

45 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Abu Shonchoy

Abu Shonchoy

Florida International University (FIU) - Department of Economics

Moogdho Mahzab

University of Virginia - Department of Economics

Towhid Iqram Mahmood

Texas Tech University - Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

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Abstract

Background: Bangladesh is among the top fifteen SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) affected countries in the world. However, the country has the lowest testing capacity per million in that group. Faced with growing pressure to continue livelihoods, Bangladesh government lifted the lockdown abruptly, costing an immediate surge in the virus caseload. Against this backdrop, there is a dire need to derive data-driven planning, for mitigation and management of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh – prioritizing the efficient allocation of limited resources. Utilizing publicly available data, this paper introduces a contagion risk (CR) index, which can work as a credible proxy to detect potential virus hotspots – aiding policymakers with proper planning.

Methods: Grounded on disease spreadability vectors, we derived the CR-Index at the district level, based on nine variables across five domains: socio-economy, demography, occupation, migration, and health infrastructure. The CR-Index is validated against the district wise COVID-19 cases across the study period.

Findings: CR-Index is positively correlated with district-wise COVID-19 cases across the pandemic period (average correlation is 0.65, p-value 0.001). The proposed CR-Index can predict seven out of the top ten COVID-19 caseload districts of Bangladesh. Week-by-week regressions also show similar findings.

Interpretation: The CR-Index proposed in this paper could work as the foundation to consider zone-specific mobility restriction measures in Bangladesh, which can be an effective solution to balance economic activities while limiting disease spread. This index gives developing country planners a viable alternative to economy-wide shutdown policy and can be replicated with available national statistics for other countries.

Funding Statement: None.

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

Keywords: Bangladesh; Contagion Risk; Index; Ecological Study

Suggested Citation

Shonchoy, Abu and Mahzab, Moogdho and Mahmood, Towhid Iqram, Balancing Lives and Livelihoods Using Contagion Risk Based COVID-19 Management: An Ecological Study on Bangladesh (9/3/2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3689861 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3689861

Abu Shonchoy (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) - Department of Economics ( email )

11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 3199
United States

Moogdho Mahzab

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

237 Monroe Hall
P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-418
United States

Towhid Iqram Mahmood

Texas Tech University - Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics ( email )

Suite 167, 2625 Memorial Circle
TTU Administration
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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