Summary for Policy
1. Delays in testing are seriously reducing the ability of the population to protect itself. This is the most important way in which we can contain the epidemic. An increase in the official number of detected cases in the short term could encourage the population to take distancing more seriously and will reduce panic compared to a big spike later.
2. Border closures at this stage have little to no impact and add further economic disruption and panic. While international transmission was important in the first stage, domestic transmission is now far more relevant.
3. A national lockdown is not productive and could cause serious economic damage, increase hunger and reduce the population resilience for handling the infection peak. Some states may see transmission increase only after another 2
weeks and lockdowns should be optimized for when they could maximize the effect on the epidemic but minimize economic damage. State level lockdowns in the most affected states could change the trajectory of the epidemic and should commence immediately. Any delay allows for more secondary cases to emerge. Lockdowns should be guided by testing and serological survey data and should be planned on a rolling basis. We will expand these recommendations shortly.
4. Preparedness for case load should be the highest priority at this time. We will be issuing guidance based on the model for state level needs for bed capacity, oxygen flow masks and tanks and ventilators.
5. Temperature and humidity increases should help us in reducing case load. Although the evidence is limited, it is plausible.
6. We need to focus on both children under the age of five and the elderly. Early testing and healthcare in this population could help significantly reduce the mortality toll of the epidemic.
7. We should be prepared for multiple peaks in the model (we have only shown what happens in July) and we should be prepared for more cases and deaths later in the year.