Coronavirus Updates: Report Release and Media Mentions

CREATE researchers continue their work on economic impacts and risk management of COVID-19, as well as their advisory roles. Please see the links below to the first report by a USC CREATE team stemming from the research project sponsored by the DHS Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency (CAOE), and a recently published paper by one of our External Fellows. See also the list of recent media mentions and webinars on COVID-19. To read more about CREATE's previous research into health threats click here.

Impacts on the U.S. Macroeconomy of Mandatory Business Closures in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors: Terrie Walmsley, Adam Rose, Dan Wei

Abstract: We estimate the macroeconomic impacts of mandatory business closures in the U.S. and many other countries in order to control the spread of the COVID-19.  The analysis is based on the application of a modified version of the GTAP computable general equilibrium (CGE) model.  We simulate mandatory closures in all countries or parts of countries that had imposed them as of April 7 for three-month and six-month cases.  For the three-month scenario, we estimate a 20.3% decline of U.S. GDP on an annual basis, or $4.3 trillion.  The employment decline of 22.4% in the U.S. for the three-month closure represents 35.2 million workers for that time period.  Should the mandatory closures be extended to six months, these negative impacts slightly more than double.  The employment impacts are slightly greater in percentage terms than the GDP impacts because most service sectors, which are generally more labor-intensive, are much more negatively impacted by the closures than are manufacturing sectors and other critical sectors.  Our results should be considered upper-bound estimates given such assumptions as businesses laying off workers no longer paying them wages or salaries.  Note also that the paper examines the mandatory closures alone and does not factor in any countervailing fiscal or monetary policies.

A Critical Analysis of Multi-Criteria Models for the Prioritisation of Health Threats

Authors: Gilberto Montibellar, Pratik Patel, Victor J. del Rio Vilas

Abstract: Multi-criteria assessments are increasingly being employed in the prioritisation of health threats, supporting decision processes related to health risk management. The use of multi-criteria analysis in this context is welcome, as it facilitates the consideration of multiple impacts of health threats, it can encompass the use of expert judgment to complement and amalgamate the evidence available, and it permits the modelling of policy makers’ priorities. However, these assessments often lack a clear multi-criteria conceptual framework, in terms of both axiomatic rigour and adequate procedures for preference modelling. Such assessments are ad hoc from a multi-criteria decision analysis perspective, despite the strong health expertise used in constructing these models. In this paper we critically examine some key assumptions and modelling choices made in these assessments, comparing them with the best practices of multi-attribute value analysis. Furthermore, we suggest a set of guidelines on how simulation studies might be employed to assess the impact of these modelling choices. We apply these guidelines to two relevant studies available in the health threat prioritisation domain. We identify severe variability in our simulations due to poor modelling choices, which could cause changes in the ranking of threats being assessed and thus lead to alternative policy recommendations than those suggested in their reports. Our results confirm the importance of carefully designing multi-criteria evaluation models for the prioritisation of health threats.

    Media Mentions and Webinars of Research and Advising by CREATE

    May 19, 2020

    William Burns, Richard John, Paul Slovic contribute to a story for Medium.com on Coronavirus Testing

    William Burns, Richard John and Paul Slovic contributed to story entitled The Importance of Prior Probabilities in Coronavirus Testing

    April 29, 2020

    Vicki Bier Discusses Lessons Learned from the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic on Society for Risk Analysis Podcast

    Vicki Bier was a featured guest on the Society for Risk Analysis’ Let’s Talk Risk podcast titled, COVID-19 Pandemic: Is History Doomed to Repeat Itself?

    April 24, 2020

    Robin Dillon-Merrill Featured in Washington Post Article on Perceptions of Acceptable Risk During the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Robin Dillon-Merrill was featured in a Washington Post article, How Much Risk are we Willing to Take?

    April 17, 2020

    Vicki Bier Discusses How Lawmakers Can Balance Public Health and the Economy on Wisconsin Public Radio Podcast

    Vicki Bier was interviewed on Rob Ferrett’s Wisconsin Public Radio podcast. The topic was How Lawmakers Can Balance Public Health and the Economy.

    April 9, 2020

    Gilberto Montibeller a Panelist on Society for Risk Analysis Webinar on Efficient Health Capability Building for Pandemics

    Gilberto Montibellar was a panelist on the Society for Risk Analysis’ webinar series COVID Conversations on Risk to discuss Efficient Health Capability Building for Pandemics.

    April 1, 2020

    Vicki Bier Quoted in Miami Herald About What Was Learned from the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918

    Vicki Bier was quoted in a Miami Herald Article titled, Tale of two Cities: Research Shows Risk of Miami-Dade’s Gradual Coronoavirus Response.

    March 27, 2020

    Gilberto Montibellar Discussed Perceived Risk to COVID-19 in Financial Times Article

    Gilberto Montibellar was interviewed for Financial Times article titled, Can behavioural science slow the spread of Covid-19?

    March 25, 2020

    Vicki Bier Discussed Gaps in Preparedness to Disaster Response in Washington Post Article

    Vicki Bier was interviewed in Washington Post article titled, The GAO Told the Government in 2015 to Protect the Aviation System Against an Outbreak. It Never Happened.

    March 15, 2020

    Vicki Bier Interviewed for The Hill Article on the U.S. Government’s Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

    Vicki Bier was quoted in The Hill article, US Reaches Moment of Truth on Coronavirus.

    March 12, 2020

    Vicki Bier Appears on WORT FM Podcast to Discuss Decisions Policymakers Face During the Community Spread of Coronavirus

    CREATE External Senior Research Fellow and professor and chair of the Industrial Systems and Engineering department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Vicki Bier speaks with Shaun Soman on WORT FM podcast following Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ public health emergency declaration in response to the spread of COVID-19.

    March 3, 2020

    Adam Rose Interviewed on KABC TV Los Angeles on the Economic Impacts of the Coronavirus

    CREATE Director and USC Price School of Public Policy Professor Adam Rose was interviewed on KABC TV Los Angeles on the economic impacts of the coronavirus.