COVID, remobilisation and the ‘stringency possibility corridor’: Creating wealth while protecting health
The world is at war with COVID-19; containment policies are a key weapon. But this in not ‘total war’ where trade-offs can be waved off; governments must perform balancing acts. This column argues that instead of thinking of containment stringency as balancing dollars versus deaths, we should think of it as a balancing infections versus tolerability. Containment policies must stay in the ‘corridor’ where they are stringent enough to avoid overwhelming hospitals, but lax enough to avoid overwhelming citizens’ tolerance levels. Solving the dilemma will require an increase in production and a relaxation of constraints – in short, it will involve a partial remobilisation of the workforce. The mission-critical task facing us is to develop a strategy for remobilising workers without risking a medical overload.
By Richard Baldwin (Graduate Institute Geneva)