A simple tool for comparing benefits and ‘costs’ of COVID-19 exit strategies.

John Frank, Andrew Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Governments and health policymakers are now looking for strategies to lift the COVID-19 lockdown, while reducing risk to the public.

Methods: We propose the population attributable risk (PAR) as an established epidemiological tool that could support decision-making through quickly estimating the main benefits and costs of various exit strategies.

Results: We demonstrate the feasibility of use of PAR using pandemic data, that were publicly available in mid-May 2020 from Scotland and the US, to estimate the proportion of COVID-19 hospital admissions which might be avoided, and the proportion of adverse labour market effects - for various scenarios - based on maintaining the lockdown for those of certain ages with and without comorbidities.

Conclusion: These calculations could be refined and applied in different countries to inform important COVID-19 policy decisions, using routinely collected data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-7
Number of pages4
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • COVID-19/epidemiology

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