The trade-off between different objectives is at the heart of political decision making. Public health, economic growth, democratic solidarity, and civil liberties are important factors when evaluating pandemic responses. There is mounting evidence that these objectives do not need to be in conflict in the COVID-19 response. Countries that consistently aim for elimination—ie, maximum action to control SARS-CoV-2 and stop community transmission as quickly as possible—have generally fared better than countries that opt for mitigation—ie, action increased in a stepwise, targeted way to reduce cases so as not to overwhelm health-care systems.


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Oliu-Barton, M., Pradelski, B., Aghion, P., Artus, P., Kickbusch, I., Lazarus, J., Sridhar, D. & Vanderslott, S. 2021, 'SARS-CoV-2 elimination, not mitigation, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties', The Lancet, 397(10291), pp. 2234-2236. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00978-8

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Last updated: 25 October 2022
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