In Guan et al., we analysed the supply-chain effects of a set of stylized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown scenarios using a disaster assessment model in combination with a widely used and validated global trade database. Despite considerable data limitations at this early stage of the outbreak, we provided a number of insights important for decision-makers attempting to minimize economic loss and acting under substantial urgency and uncertainty. In their recent communication, J. Verschuur and colleagues estimated global supply-chain dynamics using real-time ship tracking data and voiced some concerns on our modelling study based on the comparison of their findings with our modelling results. While we appreciate their complementary follow-up research based on real-time data, we posit that it is not possible to compare the stylized lockdown scenarios we developed with their data reflecting actual changes in the economy and policies that were implemented in response to COVID-19. In addition, there are differences in the modelling scope and their data has limitations with respect to how well it reflects changes in global supply chains. We call for broad and practical collaborations that integrate epidemiological modelling with economic forecasting tools to provide full information to both policy and public stakeholders about effective protective measures that are needed for public health as well as the economy.


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Wang, D., Hubacek, K., Liang, X., Coffman, D., Hallegatte, S. & Guan, D. 2021, 'Reply to: Observed impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade', Nature Human Behaviour, 5, pp. 308-309. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-021-01061-4

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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