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Press Release

Cleveland Fed report on pandemic research shows adequate testing and selective containment measures can be effective in fighting COVID-19

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a dual public health and economic crisis. In this Economic Commentary, Cleveland Fed researchers Sewon Hur and Michael Jenuwine explore the relationship between the spread of disease and economic activity, the role for government intervention in the crisis, and the effectiveness of testing and containment policies, and summarize the methods and findings of a number of quickly emerging bodies of literature on the economics of pandemics.

“The research shows that adequate testing and selective containment measures can be effective in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the absence of adequate testing capabilities, optimal interventions involve social distancing and other lockdown measures,” say the researchers. “However, the research landscape continues to evolve quickly, and more research is needed to guide monetary policy, especially taking into account that most central banks in severely affected nations are already at or near the effective lower bounds of their policy interest rates.”

Read more: Lessons on the Economics of Pandemics from Recent Research

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479