The Path to Zero: Key Metrics for COVID Suppression

July 1, 2020 — Today a network of research, policy, and public health experts convened by Harvard’s Global Health Institute and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics launches a Key Metrics For COVID Suppression framework that provides clear, accessible guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 more effectively across the nation.

The new framework brings clarity to metrics that help communities determine the severity of the outbreak they are responding to. A new COVID Risk Level map shows if a county or state is on the green, yellow, orange or red risk level, based on the number of new daily cases. The framework then delivers broad guidance on the intensity of control efforts needed based on these COVID risk levels. It offers key performance indicators for testing and contact tracing across all risk levels, as a backbone for suppression efforts. 

The framework also allows for a breadth of options for what to do beyond TTSI (testing, tracing and supported isolation) when jurisdictions are at yellow and orange levels. Public officials need to make strategic decisions suitable to their context. Once a community reaches the red risk level, stay-at-home orders become necessary again. The framework draws attention to the need to focus on suppression at every risk level.

About the Convergence Group 

These institutions and individuals have signed on to the Key Metrics for COVID Suppression Framework: 



  • Divya Siddarth – Research Fellow, Microsoft Research
  • Sham Kakade – Washington Research Foundation Data Science Chair, University of Washington
  • Dean Foster – Marie and Joseph Melone Professor Emeritus of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Joshua Cohen – Faculty, Apple University; Distinguished Senior Fellow, UC Berkeley
  • Beth Cameron – Vice President for Global Biological Policy and Programs, NTI
  • Jessica Bell – Senior Program Officer, Global Biological Policy and Programs, NTI
  • Ofir Reich – Google Research
  • John Langford – Partner Research Manager, Microsoft Research
  • Ellie Graeden – Founder, CEO, Talus Analytics
  • Rebecca Katz – Professor and Director, Georgetown GHSS
  • Ben Linville-Engler – MA M-ERT and Director, MIT System Design and Management
  • Tod Woolf, Ph.D – Executive Director, Technology Ventures Office, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Crystal Watson, DrPH – Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Assistant Professor, JHSPH
  • Marc Lipsitch, DPhil – Professor of Epidemiology, Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

About the COVID Risk Levels Map 

The COVID Risk Level map is an interactive dashboard based on the Metrics For COVID Suppression Framework. The dashboard was developed by Microsoft AI for Health, with maps provided by Mapbox.  The dashboard has been retired as of December 2022.