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Title: Interacting regional policies in containing a disease

Regional quarantine policies, in which a portion of a population surrounding infections is locked down, are an important tool to contain disease. However, jurisdictional governments—such as cities, counties, states, and countries—act with minimal coordination across borders. We show that a regional quarantine policy’s effectiveness depends on whether 1) the network of interactions satisfies a growth balance condition, 2) infections have a short delay in detection, and 3) the government has control over and knowledge of the necessary parts of the network (no leakage of behaviors). As these conditions generally fail to be satisfied, especially when interactions cross borders, we show that substantial improvements are possible if governments are outward looking and proactive: triggering quarantines in reaction to neighbors’ infection rates, in some cases even before infections are detected internally. We also show that even a few lax governments—those that wait for nontrivial internal infection rates before quarantining—impose substantial costs on the whole system. Our results illustrate the importance of understanding contagion across policy borders and offer a starting point in designing proactive policies for decentralized jurisdictions.

Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2018554
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10223963
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
118
Issue:
19
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. e2021520118
ISSN:
0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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