The global pandemic of COVID-19 has underlined the need for more coordinated responses to emergent pathogens. These responses need to balance epidemic control in ways that concomitantly minimize hospitalizations and economic damages. We develop a hybrid economic-epidemiological modeling framework that allows us to examine the interaction between economic and health impacts over the first period of pathogen emergence when lockdown, testing, and isolation are the only means of containing the epidemic. This operational mathematical setting allows us to determine the optimal policy interventions under a variety of scenarios that might prevail in the first period of a large-scale epidemic outbreak. Combining testing with isolation emerges as a more effective policy than lockdowns, substantially reducing deaths and the number of infected hosts, at lower economic cost. If a lockdown is put in place early in the course of the epidemic, it always dominates the "laissez-faire"policy of doing nothing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas