The strong lockdowns that countries across the world have implemented to fight covid-19 have had the desired effect: the number of new infections and deaths are decreasing, and healthcare systems are recovering. Yet the repercussions of the lockdown on the economy and the well-being of citizens have been enormous.

The curve has flattened, but what’s next? Countries across the world are beginning to slowly lift the ‘hammer’, with some opening schools and others allowing certain sectors of society back to work. But enormous uncertainty remains: how can we increasingly go back to a ‘normal’ state without overburdening the healthcare system? What are the economic costs associated with different exit strategies? How will these strategies work out at a social and psychological level? How can we anticipate and mitigate effects of a ‘second wave’?

In the first phase of Strategies versus Corona, we have called on citizens and scientists to generate ideas about exit strategies. Now, we announce the second phase. We call on scientists to come together in interdisciplinary teams to work out and propose an exit strategy that can potentially be implemented.

Do you want to join the challenge? Then sign up!

What is the challenge exactly?

The challenge is to come up with an exit strategy, i.e., a policy that allows society to recover while keeping the pressure on the healthcare system at an acceptable level.

You should submit an exit strategy, detailing its implementation and its consequences. In particular, please pay attention to at least the following questions:

  • What exit strategy are you investigating?
  • How would this strategy be implemented?
  • How feasible is this strategy?
  • What are potential unintended side-effects of this strategy?
  • What are the medical consequences of this strategy (e.g., number of deaths, side-effects on regular care)?
  • What are the economic consequences of this strategy?
  • What are the psychological consequences of this strategy (e.g., effects on mental health)?
  • What are the social consequences of this strategy (e.g., are certain groups disproportionately affected)?

Your exit strategy actually does not need to work; if you describe in detail what would not work, then this could also be a valuable contribution. We value clarity and soundness of reasoning regardless of your ultimate conclusions. You can therefore treat this challenge also as an investigation into what would not work. Similarly, your exit strategy does not need to involve detailed mathematical modeling work. In particular, a thorough literature review from which you draw conclusions would certainly have merit as well.

Your proposal can be of any form that answers these questions.

How does the challenge work?

If you sign up, our community will provide you with tools to develop, investigate, and evaluate your exit strategy. These tools consist of:

  1. A Slack workspace, in which you can communicate with other members in your team.
  2. A Git environment, in which you can set up models that you may use to investigate your exit strategies (if needed).
  3. A set of resources: a collection of papers, computer programs, and visualizations that are useful for assessing the effect of different interventions you may choose.
  4. A spot on our Shiny account that you can use to create visual illustrations of your exit strategy (if needed).

How do I form a team?

Although it is possible to participate in the challenge all by yourself, we stimulate the formation of interdisciplinary teams. You can sign up with a team of your own, or you can join the matchmaking-channel in the Slack workspace, where other researchers from a range of disciplines may be willing to team up with you. 

How do I submit my exit strategy?

You can submit your exit strategy here.

What happens after submission?

Together with an interdisciplinary jury, we will assess all exit strategies. We will provide a platform for the most informative and thorough investigations of exit strategies, knowing that government institutes and policy makers watch this website closely. There is a real possibility that they may pick up your ideas. Maybe you’ll help society find the exit!

Please fill out the form to join!

Do you have a proposal for an exit strategy and/or a criterion that a strategy should meet?
Let us know!
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