The effect of eviction moratoria on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2
Massive unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic could result in an eviction crisis in US cities. Here we model the effect of evictions on SARS-CoV-2 epidemics, simulating viral transmission within and among households in a theoretical metropolitan area. We recreate a range of urban epidemic trajectories and project the course of the epidemic under two counterfactual scenarios, one in which a strict moratorium on evictions is in place and enforced, and another in which evictions are allowed to resume at baseline or increased rates. We find, across scenarios, that evictions lead to significant increases in infections. Applying our model to Philadelphia using locally-specific parameters shows that the increase is especially profound in models that consider realistically heterogenous cities in which both evictions and contacts occur more frequently in poorer neighborhoods. Our results provide a basis to assess eviction moratoria and show that policies to stem evictions are a warranted and important component of COVID-19 control.
Conflict of interest statement
M.C and A.V. report grants and personal fees from Metabiota Inc. outside of the submitted work. SVS is a paid consultant with Pandefense Advisory and Booze Allen Hamilton; is on the advisory board for BioFire Diagnostics Trend Surveillance, which includes paid to consult; and holds unexercised options in Iliad Biotechnologies. These entities provided no financial support associated with this research, did not have a role in the design of this study, and did not have any role during its execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, and/or decision to submit. The remaining authors declare no competing interests.