Alternative Strategies for Greece's Exit from the Economic Crisis
The Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy Yearbook Series
Many countries have applied lockdown that helped suppress COVID-19, but with devastating economic consequences. Here we propose exit strategies from lockdown that provide sustainable, albeit reduced, economic activity. We use mathematical models to show that a cyclic schedule of 4-day work and 10-day lockdown, or similar variants, can, in certain conditions, suppress the epidemic while providing part-time employment. The cycle reduces the reproduction number R by a combination of reduced
... n of reduced exposure time and an anti-phasing effect in which those infected during work days reach peak infectiousness during lockdown days. The number of work days can be adapted in response to observations. Throughout, full epidemiological measures need to continue including hygiene, physical distancing, compartmentalization and extensive testing and contact tracing. We do not call for immediate adoption of this policy, but rather to consider it as a conceptual framework, which, when combined with other interventions to control the epidemic, can offer the beginnings of predictability to many economic sectors. Current non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) to suppress COVID-19 use testing, contact tracing, physical distancing, mask use, identification of regional outbreaks, compartmentalization down to the neighborhood and company level, and population-level quarantine at home known as lockdown ( 1 -4 ) . The aim is to flatten the infection curve and prevent overload of the medical system until a vaccine becomes available. Lockdown is currently in place in many countries. It has a large economic and social cost, including unemployment on a massive scale. Once a lockdown has reduced the number of critical cases to a desired goal, a decision must be reached on how to exit it responsibly. The main concern is the risk of resurgence of the epidemic. One strategy proposes reinstating lockdown when a threshold number of critical cases is exceeded in a resurgence, and stopping lockdown again once cases drop below a low threshold ( 2 , 5 ) (Fig 1A,S1 ). While such an "adaptive triggering" strategy can prevent healthcare services from becoming overloaded, it leads to economic uncertainty and continues to accumulate cases with each resurgence.