fbpx Health and Economic Impacts of Lockdown Policies in the Early Stage of COVID-19 in the U.S. | Harvard Kennedy School

HKS Affiliated Authors


December 2022, Paper: "Lockdown policies such as stay-at-home orders are known to be effective in controlling the spread of the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, concerns over economic burdens of these policies rapidly propelled U.S. states to move towards reopening in the early stage of the pandemic. Decision-making in most states has been challenging, especially because of a dearth of quantitative evidence on health gains versus economic burdens of different policies. To assist decision-makers, we study the health and economic impacts of various lockdown policies across U.S. states, and shed light on policies that are most effective. To this end, we make use of detailed data from 50 U.S. states plus District of Columbia on various factors, including number of tests, positive and negative results, hospitalizations, ICU beds and ventilators used, residents’ mobility obtained from cell phone data, and deaths. Our analyses allow quantifying the total cost versus the total quality-adjusted life year (QALY) associated with various lockdown policies."