HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, FAS


Although confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining in the Northeastern states that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, in other parts of the nation confirmed cases are rising and deaths are declining more slowly. As the nation reopens, this raises concerns about a second wave of deaths which, if countered by a second round of economic shutdowns, could have severe and long-lasting economic consequences. We use a five-age epidemiological model, combined with 66-sector economic accounting, to examine policies to avert and to respond to a second wave. We find that a second round of economic shutdowns alone are neither sufficient nor necessary to avert or quell a second wave. In contrast, non-economic non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as reintroducing restrictions on social and recreational gatherings, stressing wearing masks and personal distancing, increasing testing and quarantine, and enhancing protections for the elderly and the most vulnerable, together can mitigate a second wave while leaving room for an economic recovery.


Baqaee, David, Emmanuel Farhi, Michael Mina, and James H. Stock. "Policies for a Second Wave." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, June 2020.