Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, believes curfews are, on the whole, an effective way to slow the pandemic. But he acknowledged his view is based on intuition.

“Scientific intuition does tell you something,” Dr. Longini said. “It’s just that you can’t quantify it very well.”

Maria Polyakova, an economist at Stanford University, has studied the effects of the pandemic on the U.S. economy. “In general,” she said, “we expect that staying at home mechanically slows the pandemic, as it reduces the number of interactions between people.”

“The trade-off is that the reduction in economic activity especially hurts many workers and their families in the large service sector of the economy,” she added. So is the curfew worth the price?