Social Cohesion vs. COVID-19

March 18, 2020

Manuel M. Dayrit & Ronald U. Mendoza

The control of particularly virulent communicable diseases such as COVID-19 can be considered a global public good. Its benefits are non-rival and non-excludable. Stopping or at least slowing the spread of COVID-19 could better protect the health and lives of literally billions of people across the world who could be vulnerable to infection. More effective control could also prevent severe social and economic disruption. Controlling the spread of communicable diseases within and across borders requires strong social cohesion, or a unity of purpose around this collective action challenge. This article elaborates on some of the main elements of counter-COVID-19 responses, drawing on emerging international good practice. While a full evaluation of policy effectiveness is still forthcoming, it is critical to review and synthesize the emerging lessons even this early. In reviewing the emerging evidence and good practice, this paper also emphasizes areas for policymakers to consider in their evolving crisis response.