The policies that helped financially struggling Americans stay in their homes and keep access to water and electricity during the COVID-19 pandemic also helped reduce the spread of the virus, according to the analysis.

The findings are available as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief package to provide rental and utility assistance for those hardest hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“Staying at home, working and schooling remotely, and social distancing have been critical in addressing this public health crisis,” says coauthor Christopher Timmins, a professor of economics at Duke University. “But complying with these measures is difficult when your home and access to water and electricity are at risk. Our analysis shows that measures to prevent evictions and utility disconnections work to reduce infections and deaths from COVID-19.”

The authors focused on the effects of local eviction and utility disconnection moratoriums. Even after accounting for varied federal- and state-level interventions, the study finds that local eviction moratoriums reduced the number of COVID-19 cases by 3.8% and COVID-related deaths by 11%, while utility disconnection moratoriums reduced cases by 4.4% and deaths by 7.4%.

Read the full article about evictions and COVID-19 by Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.