McKinsey’s Perspective on the Trajectory of the Epidemic

By April 14, 2020 Commentary

McKinsey is a prestigious consulting firm that does a lot of work for large companies and others.  Like everyone else they are trying get business related to coronavirus.  The firm has issued a piece on what it believes will happen in future months.   (McKinsey Brief)  The brief starts by making a few standard observations, like that various countries are in different stages of the epidemic, that states may be in different stages, and that most countries are using pretty severe lockdown measures to slow spread.  McKinsey’s basic model is that countries will go through a cycle of localized infection clusters, uncontrolled acceleration, spread deceleration and control of and battling resurgence.  They discuss the mitigation of spread measures that have been and are likely to be deployed in each phase.  Their end state is one of testing, contact tracing and quarantine for new cases.  As others have, they note Sweden as an outlier to this approach, as that country is accepting the reality that at some point most of the population will become infected, with no more deaths than the suppression efforts will incur and a whole lot less economic damage.

The firm believes the next few months will be volatile in regard to both the progress of the epidemic and the reactions to it.  Important issues include the efficacy and durability of the health system capacity surge to meet the ongoing number of cases; scaling of public health tactics to create faster surveillance and reaction capabilities; antibody testing to determine immunity levels in the population and the nature of that immunity, and innovation in vaccines and curative medicines.  The brief concluded with a discussion of issues related to restarting economies.  All pretty vanilla, and for a lot of money, I am sure the firm will provide you with a more in-depth perspective.  Not much in the way of real insight.

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