Opinion: Crowding and the Coronavirus: The Key to Reopening

By Paul A. Offit, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, | April 27, 2020

Former Board Member and Stoneleigh Fellow David Rubin, and his colleague Paul Offit, co-authored an opinion piece for the New York Times on the key metrics and measures communities should use to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. 

Ever since the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged in China late last year, public health experts have debated why it was so dangerous. Now, as we consider how to reopen communities in the United States and across the world, we’re learning that the closer people live and work together, the more threatening and deadly the disease can be.

Models we created at PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, tracking and forecasting outbreaks in 211 counties in 46 states, as well as in the District of Columbia, revealed that crowding and population density, whether in densely populated areas in New York City or a meatpacking plant in South Dakota, are the most important factor in determining the havoc the virus can wreak.

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