Modeling Social Distancing Strategies to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Israel: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis



While highly effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread, national lockdowns come with an enormous economic price. Few countries have adopted an alternative “testing, tracing, and isolation” approach to selectively isolate people at high exposure risk, thereby minimizing the economic impact. To assist policy makers, we performed a cost-effectiveness analysis of these 2 strategies.


A modified Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Recovered, and Deceased (SEIRD) model was employed to assess the situation in Israel, a small country with ∼9 million people. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of these strategies as well as the expected number of infected individuals and deaths were calculated.


A nationwide lockdown is expected to save, on average, 274 (median 124, interquartile range: 71-221) lives compared to the “testing, tracing, and isolation” approach. However, the ICER will be, on average, $45 104 156 (median $49.6 million, interquartile range: 22.7-220.1) to prevent 1 case of death.


A national lockdown has a moderate advantage in saving lives with tremendous costs and possible overwhelming economic effects. These findings should assist decision makers dealing with additional waves of this pandemic.


Amir Shlomai Ari Leshno Ella H. Sklan Moshe Leshno

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