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COVID-19 | MIT IDE Rapid Response Hub

The IDE's COVID-19 Rapid Response Hub is an open-source repository for timely, fact-based, and actionable information.

Welcome to the MIT IDE COVID-19 rapid response hub.

The IDE’s world-renowned research team is working tirelessly to provide timely, accurate, and data-informed analysis of the pandemic and its effects, and actionable solutions for policymakers, business leaders, and citizens. We are collaborating with companies like Facebook, Safegraph, Praekelt, and Graphika Inc., to analyze millions of data points to both help stop the spread of the coronavirus and to advise global leaders on critical next steps.

READ OUR SPECIAL RESEARCH REPORT: The Impact of COVID-19 on Our Digital Economy

Download the new, March 2021 report, OUR WORLD ACCELERATED

The IDE disseminates:

Real-time global tracking

Analysis of the social, economic, and public health impacts of social distancing

Analysis of misinformation on social media, the future of remote work, impact on platforms, and more

Timely, tactical insights and strategies for policymakers, business leaders, and the public, including employment and GDP predictions

While timeliness is critical in this real-time environment, our research must be sound and our results proven before we release them publicly. We are working expediently, but cautiously, to put forward solutions.

IDE COVID-19 Research and Insights

Research and citings are listed below by topical categories:

1. The Impact of Government Interventions, Social Distancing on the Pandemic

Surfacing norms to increase vaccine acceptance  Feb. 2021, Sinan Aral, Dean Eckles

Vaccines Prove the Power of Positive Reinforcement     Medium, Sinan Aral, Dean Eckles

Op-Ed: Why public health messaging should emphasize vaccine acceptance, not hesitancy L.A. Times by Sinan Aral and Dean Eckles

Study Reveals True Reasons for COVID-19 Flareups, Medium

The Interdependent  Impacts of Regional COVID-19 Reopenings in the U.S. , Michael Zhao, Sinan Aral

Report: COVID Reshaping Labor Markets and Accelerating Automation

Rationing social contact during the COVID-19 pandemic: Transmission risk and social benefits of US locations​ (Seth Benzell, Avinash Collis, and Christos Nicolaides)

Preserving Job Matches During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Firm-level evidence on the role of government aid (Daniela Scur)

A Multi-Risk SIR Model with Optimally Targeted Lockdown (Daron Acemolgu)

Global Behaviors and Perceptions at the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, (Erez Yoeli, et al)

Did the Paycheck Protection Program Hit the Target? (Christos Makridis et al)

In hardest hit areas, fewer small businesses saw money from federal loan program (MIT Sloan , Christos Makridis)

Social Distancing, Internet Access and Inequality, (Catherine Tucker, Lesley Chiou)

Social Distancing and School Closures: Documenting Disparity in Internet Access among School Children (Catherine Tucker, Ananya Sen)

Rationing Social Contact During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Transmission Risk and Social Benefits of U.S. Locations (Seth Benzell, Avinash Collis, Christos Nicolaides) View the published version here.

Ties That Bind (and Social Distance): How Social Capital Helps Communities Weather the COVID-19 Pandemic (Christos Makridis)

Data Analytics Offers a Roadmap for Re-opening the U.S., (Medium, Paula Klein)

Restarting the Economy and Avoiding Big Brother; (Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland)

Don’t get it or don’t spread it? Comparing self-interested versus pro socially framed COVID-19 prevention messaging, (David Rand, Jillian Jordan, Erez Yoeli)

A Checklist for Effective COVID-19 Public Health Messaging (MIT Sloan)

The Early Effects of Coronavirus-Related Social Distancing Restrictions on Brands (Catherine Tucker, Shuyi Yu)

Effect of Social Distancing Measures in the New York City Metropolitan area, (Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland)

How to Restart the Economy With a Post-pandemic Workforce (Sara Brown, MIT Sloan)

Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Distancing Policies (Medium, Irving Wladawsky-Berger)

A 7-Point COVID-19 Behavior Change Primer (Sinan Aral)

Effectiveness of social distancing strategies for protecting a community from a pandemic (Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland)

2. The Economic Fallout and Business Implications of COVID-19—Post-Pandemic Planning

The Collaboration Toll of Remote Work , Medium, Q&A with David Holtz

The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers, LATEST RESEARCH, Nature Human Behaviour, by David Holtz et al September 2021

Enouraging the Resumption of Economic Activity After COVID-19  by David Rand Jan. 2021

Turking in the Time of COVID  by David Rand, Antonio A. Arechar, Jan. 2021

Boosting Business Value by Reducing COVID-19 Transmission Risk, MIT Sloan Management Reviw (Seth Benzell, Avinash Collis, and Christos Nicolaides)

How to Fix Post-pandemicSupply Chains, Michael Schrage

Can a Data-Driven Economy Yield More Equality? (Alex “Sandy” Pentland)

Dynamic Networks Improve Remote Decision-Making (Abdullah Almaatouq and Alex “Sandy” Pentland)

What Happens to Industry and Jobs After COVID-19? (MIT Sloan features five IDE researchers)

The Business of Rebuilding Business, A Conversation with Michael Spence, Sam Palmisano and Erik Brynjolfsson, (Medium, Paula Klein)

VIDEO: New MIT Study Shows The Cost Of The Patchwork Response To Coronavirus In The U.S. (Sinan Aral on Greater Boston program)

The Deadly Cost of Uncoordinated Reopening of our States (Sinan Aral, The Hill)

The Cost of Uncoordinated Responses to COVID-19 (Sinan Aral, David Holtz)

Study: There will be a “devastating cost of failure” if economic re-openings are not coordinated, Sinan Aral, TechRepublic

Building the New Economy, Alex (Sandy) Pentland, MIT Press

(Re)Building the Economy,  Alex (Sandy) Pentland,  TEDxMIT

How to Keep Digital Innovation Thriving Post-Pandemic, (Medium, Paula Klein with Neil Thompson)

Which Businesses Should Reopen First? A New MIT Study Has Answers. (Seth Benzell, Avinash Collis, Christos Nicolaides)

Data Analytics Holds the Key to Re-opening the U.S. (Medium, Paula Klein)

Winning the Race for Survival: How New Manufacturing Technologies are Driving Business-Model Innovation (Geoffrey Parker)

Which Retail Outlets Generate the Most Physical Interactions? (Avi Goldfarb, Catherine Tucker)

The Economic Fallout from COVID-19 (Sinan Aral)

COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data (Erik Brynjolfsson, John Horton, Adam Ozimek, Daniel Rock, Garima Sharma, Hong Yi Tu Ye)

Two Economists See COVID-19 Costs Topping $2 Trillion (Christos Makridis and Jonathan Hartley)

Will Coronavirus Spark the Overdue Platform Revolution in Healthcare? (Geoffrey Parker, Edward Anderson, Nora Belcher)

What Will Tomorrow’s Workplace Bring? More Elbow Room, for Starters (Erik Brynjofsson, The New York Times)

Companies are Firing the Wrong People (, Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee)

Four Ways to Keep Ideas Flowing During a Pandemic (Alex “Sandy” Pentland)

COVID-19 Guidance from Three MIT Experts (Medium, Paula Klein, featuring Sinan Aral, Alex “Sandy” Pentland, David Rand)

Podcast: COVID-19 Impact on the Global Economy  (Jonathan Ruane)

Podcast: How Will COVID-19 Change Us? Is There Room for Optimism? (Andrew McAfee)

Update from the IDE Executive Director (David Verrill)

3. Fighting Coronavirus Misinformation and Bias— The Role of Social Media

Attitudes about COVID-19 in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S.A.: A novel test of political polarization and motivated reasoning  Feb. 2021 (David Rand, Gordon Pennycook, Jonathon McPhetres,

Bence Bago)

MIT IDE Researchers Launch Global COVID-19 Behavior Study (Dean Eckles)

Fighting COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media: Experimental Evidence for a Scalable Accuracy Nudge Intervention, (David Rand, Gordon Pennycook, Jonathon McPhetres, Yunhao Zhang)

Social media giants like Facebook have gone ‘out of their way’ to make more information available’: MIT Professor (Sinan Aral)

Why the novel coronavirus became a social media nightmare (Erik Brynjolfsson: The New York Times)

How to Make Better Decisions About Coronavirus (Thomas Davenport, Sloan Management Review)

4. Digital Technology and COVID-19

Facebook Has Launched a New Map, Datasets That Will Help Users Combat Covid-19 (Partnership with MIT IDE)

COVID-19 Adds Urgency to Value-Based Healthcare (Medium, Thomas Davenport)

Is Blockchain an Untapped Public Health Solution? (Medium, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, citing Alex Pentland)

Artificial Intelligence Goes to Work Against COVID-19 (Georgios Petropoulos)

Entrepreneurs Step Up to Global COVID-19 Challenges (Medium, Paula Klein)

Andrew McAfee Discusses Digital Technology and COVID-19 (Andrew McAfee)

COVID-19 Observatory, Track Pandemic Patterns (Alex “Sandy” Pentland)



“The IDE is in guerrilla mode, tirelessly working on the COVID-19 frontlines among those seeking to stop the spread. We’ve got partnerships, data sharing, and huge data analysis labs up and running, and are rigorously analyzing the data so that we can inform the public and advise policymakers.”

– Sinan Aral, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy


Meet the Core Research Team

Sinan Aral – BIO
Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy
David Austin Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

Andrew McAfee – BIO
Co-Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

Alex “Sandy” Pentland – BIO
Pillar Lead, MIT Initiative of the Digital Economy
Director, MIT Connection Science, MIT Media Lab, Media Lab Asia

Christos Makridis – BIO
Digital Fellow, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy
Research Assistant Professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business in Arizona State University

David Rand – BIO
Associate Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT,
Affiliate, MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Director of the Human Cooperation Laboratory and the Applied Cooperation Team

Georgios Petropoulos – BIO
Post-Doctoral Associate, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

Geoffrey Parker – BIO
Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy
Professor of Engineering, Dartmouth College
Director, Master of Engineering Management Program, Dartmouth College

To contact the IDE research team, or for press and media inquiries.


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Click below to contact a member of the IDE COVID-19 research team, or for press and media inquiries.

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