Facundo Piguillem, Liyan Shi, 26 June 2020

Given the wide range of strategies pursued by governments coping with COVID-19, the question of ‘who got it right’ is unavoidable. This column argues that the combination of issues at stake – the chance to eliminate the virus, the statistical value of life, and the behavioural reactions to social distancing – makes it possible to rationalise quite different government reactions. Nevertheless, one tool could have substantially reduced the economic cost of quarantines and was vastly underutilised by most countries: testing.

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