Protecting lives and livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic by shielding elderly populations

  • Blanket lockdowns have proven to be unsustainable, particularly in developing countries. This brief examines how age-targeted policy measures could keep economies largely open while shielding the elderly and others with underlying health conditions.
  • We find that in the presence of large informal sectors, limited fiscal space, and large numbers of households living hand-to-mouth, age-targeted policies are more effective in saving lives and protecting livelihoods.
  • As countries begin to lift lockdowns, we recommend measures to shield the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions from the general population and the pandemic.
  • Governments should engage with and effectively communicate to the public the importance of such measures and the risks of reintroducing blanket lockdowns, which have dire implications for lives and livelihoods.
  • Governments should forge a strong partnership with traditional, religious, and other community leaders to implement such initiatives effectively.

The working paper related to this brief is available here.