The COVID-19 Lightswitch Method

Image: Marissa Childs, Morgan Kain, Devin Kirk, Mallory Harris, Jacob Ritchie, Lisa Couper, Isabel Delwel, Nicole Nova, Erin Mordecai

Researchers at Stanford created an interactive model to simulate the results of different long term COVID-19 intervention strategies. The models show that lifting strong social distancing measures too quickly (between 5 and 10 months) will result in a resurgence of cases that could overwhelm hospital capacity. One solution to this in the long term is the lightswitch method, where strong social distancing measures are turned on once a hospital capacity threshold is reached (e.g. 15 patients), and turned off once the hospital numbers drop below a lower threshold (e.g. 2 patients). This method balances fighting the spread of COVID-19 and our lives and economies returning to a somewhat normal operation.


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