Using testing resource allocation to identify infected individuals and prevent them from spreading the virus
This model segments the population according to an individual’s “exposure” to others (and consequently to the virus), and their cost of containment. The latter can refer to social cost, e.g. a healthcare worker who by self-isolating is unable to perform essential duties, or financial cost, which is prohibitive for many. Following this, we compute the optimal group sizes and test allocations for each segment. Finally, the group testing is performed and appropriate containment measures are carried out for groups that test positively for the virus.
We emphasise that this solution provides considerable flexibility for policymakers to optimise the balance between virus containment and socioeconomic welfare.
Classify people into segments
The heterogeneous testing strategy we propose classifies individuals along two axes: their exposure to the virus and their cost of self-isolation.
Optimise for pool sizes and test allocations
Based on these population characteristics, we define optimal group size and number of tests per segment.
Test and contain as necessary
Following testing, we carry out isolation of groups that tested positive.