As cities seek to bounce forward through the health, economic and social impact of the pandemic, what can they learn from the challenge of reopening while keeping their communities safe? 

The Covid-19 pandemic did not have a one-time impact on cities. New waves of infection forced cities to balance efforts to flatten the curve of infections and reinfections, and challenged efforts to open up business and establish a new post-crisis normal. Globally, the evidence showed that premature easing of lockdown measures lead to contagion spikes, and in many cities containment and social distancing were the main option available to avoid severe ICU health crises in urban areas. 

Dr. Maurice Kugler of the Schar School of Public Policy at George Mason University in the US proposed Six Exit Strategies, which explored the full gamut of options available to cities as they eased lockdown measures. These strategies recognized that one size does not fit all and cities should be prepared for different scenarios.  The intention behind coming up with different exit strategies is to balance the two imperatives each city faces in a pandemic: saving lives and saving livelihoods.  Dr. Kugler argued that there are two preconditions to any phased exit from a lockdown: a reproduction number less than 1 (R0 < 1) and a robust contact tracing scheme.

Six Exit Strategies from Lockdown: One Size does not Fit All (Dr. Maurice Kugler)

Hear from Dr. Maurice Kugler in session #12 Unlocking Bogota  

Further resources: 

How to: Hear from Risk Management Solutions on which interventions will be most effective in living with Covid-19 from Cities on the Frontline #11 – Pandemic Resilient Cities

Lesson: Learn more from session #12 Unlocking Bogota on how Bogota is planning to ease lockdown 

Opinion: Climbing Out of “Lockdown”: The Great Restart – For the next epidemic, governments will need a new class of model for optimizing the set of actions to best restart the economy with increased social distancing. 

How to: Scenario Planning for critical events using City Resilience Framework Medellin – The Government of Antioquia, Colombia, has used a scenario planning methodology to better understand how to strategically plan its response and recovery from the pandemic of Covid-19. 

Opinion: Cities, crowding, and the coronavirus: Predicting contagion risk hotspots – The World Bank has developed a methodology that can be rapidly deployed to help city leaders prioritize resources towards places with the highest exposure and contagion risk 

How to: Bucharest school reopening. Bucharest is looking at three different scenarios: in-person, hybrid mode and fully digital. In any scenario, the most vulnerable – Roma, those with special education needs, those with disabilities and the poor- will be prioritized with digital equipment. 

How to: Buenos Aires’ four stages to recovery will culminate with the “Switch On” stage.