A new GLO Discussion Paper shows for China that a 1-day decrease in the time taken to confirm the first case in a city publicly led to 9.4% and 12.7% reductions in COVID-19 prevalence and mortality over the subsequent six months.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 931, 2021
Act Early to Prevent Infections and Save Lives: Causal Impact of Diagnostic Efficiency on the COVID-19 Pandemic – Download PDF
by Chen, Simiao & Jin, Zhangfeng & Vollmer, Sebastian & Bärnighausen, Till & David E. Bloom
GLO Fellow Zhangfeng Jin
Author Abstract: This paper examines the causal impact of diagnostic efficiency on the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Using an instrumental variable approach, we show that a 1-day decrease in the time taken to confirm the first case in a city publicly led to 9.4% and 12.7% reductions in COVID-19 prevalence and mortality over the subsequent six months, respectively. The impact was larger for cities that are farther from the COVID-19 epicenter, are exposed to less migration, have more responsive public health systems, and have higher-capacity utilization of health systems. Social distancing and a less burdened health system are likely underlying mechanisms.
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More from the GLO COVID-19 Cluster.
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