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Prevention will save us money

5. 6. 2020 Statement of the authors of CERGE-EI studies in the serie "IDEA anti COVID-19"

The full text of the stamement in PDF format can be downloaded here.

The next few months will see the Czech Republic in a delicate balance between as much normality as possible and as much physical and social distancing as necessary. The country has made enormous progress in suppressing and controlling the virus, through enormous economic and personal sacrifices made by the whole population. These achievements need to be safeguarded through constant watchfulness. It is still unknown whether immunity is acquired from surviving the disease, and for how long, but in any case the frequency of immunity in the Czech population is likely to be negligible; the conditions are thus qualitatively unchanged and should the virus reemerge we could see it spread quickly, exponentially. There will invariably be local outbreaks as schools, offices and restaurants reopen, just as there are in other countries that otherwise have the epidemic well under control. Examples of renewed outbreaks in South Korea and other countries demonstrate the importance of continuous vigilance, but they also show that sudden outbreaks can be brought under control with quick and decisive action supported by the right preparation.

This means that besides constant watchfulness we now need to take steps to prepare for new outbreaks and increases in the number of cases, and we need to make sure we are constantly learning about how the virus is best fought under local Czech conditions. This document discusses the most important policies for increasing preparedness that can be implemented now, as well as those that will be useful if infection numbers rise again and difficult decisions have to be made.