10:12 AM CT on 4/1/20
Public health interventions like social distancing and quarantines could lead to a faster economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study.
Researchers found cities that responded earlier and more aggressively to the 1918 flu pandemic saw better economic outcomes the year following the outbreak. Reacting 10 days earlier correlated to a 5% increase in manufacturing employment the year after the pandemic, and implementing interventions for another 50 days led to a 6.5% increase in manufacturing employment the next year.
"We can’t go back and act more quickly in the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can apply this information now," said Emil Verner, author of the study and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. "Lifting restrictions too early could make the economy worse by leading to a resurgence of the virus in an even more destructive pandemic."