The effect of eviction moratoriums on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Justin Sheen, Anjalika Nande, Emma L Walters, Ben Adlam, Andrei Gheorghe, Julianna Shinnick, Maria Florencia Tejeda, Andrew Greenlee, Daniel Schneider, Alison L Hill, Michael Z. Levy

Research output: Working paper


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 increase 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 municipal eviction moratoriums and show that policies to stem evictions are a warranted and important component of COVID-19 control.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Funding StatementThis work was supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health DP5OD019851 (ALH), R01AI146129 (MZL).Author DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:Not applicableAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesWe provide all of our code online on Github, it is open access. The data used in this paper was obtained from the Census and so it is also open access.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Number of pages44
StateIn preparation - Nov 1 2020

Publication series

PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press


  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
  • Novel coronavirus
  • 2019-nCoV
  • Pandemic

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