A Framework for Coronavirus Policy
There are two general ways to reduce the transmission of the virus. One is “engineering”, changing the physical environment, the other is “social”, changing behavior to keep people distant from each other. Under engineering, we can include not only physical partitions, UV lighting and ventilation, but also mask-wearing and other PPE. I know, there is a very large behavioral component to masking, but I want to focus on the distancing aspect, so let’s put everything else in the engineering box.
Now for distancing. Suppose we know instantaneously and with certainty everyone who is infected. In that case, we can selectively quarantine them, and this will cut off transmission. That is possible only in rare