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  1. The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in high death tolls all over the world. The aim of this paper is to show how a simple SEIR model was used to make quick predictions for New Jersey in early March 2020 and call for action based on data from China and Italy. A more refined model, which accounts for social distancing, testing, contact tracing and quarantining, is then proposed to identify containment measures to minimize the economic cost of the pandemic. The latter is obtained taking into account all the involved costs including reduced economic activities due to lockdown and quarantining as well as the cost for hospitalization and deaths. The proposed model allows one to find optimal strategies as combinations of implementing various non-pharmaceutical interventions and study different scenarios and likely initial conditions.