• The Russia connectionU.S. Officials Link COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign to Russian Proxy Accounts

    Officials in the United States have said that thousands of Russia-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm and misinformation about the COVID-19 crisis. State Department officials involved in countering Russian disinformation said on 22 February that fake accounts are being used on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and are operating in multiple languages.

  • EpidemicsIran Notes More COVID-19 Cases as 2 from Diamond Princess Die

    Iran yesterday reported three more COVID-19 cases yesterday, as the number of new infections jumped in South Korea and in Japan, amid several new Diamond Princess developments, including the first two deaths and a US government agency clash over the evacuation of infected passengers. Meanwhile, China reported 394 new cases of the new coronavirus illness, a sharp drop that follows a case definition change that includes only lab-tested positives among the confirmed cases.

  • EpidemicsMapping the Spread of Coronavirus

    Researchers are using mathematical models to better understand and predict the spread of COVID-19 and to quantify the effectiveness of various efforts to stop it. The goal of the “mathematical epidemiology” model is to help the public health community understand and anticipate the spread of the infection and evaluate the potential effectiveness of different approaches for bringing it under control.

  • EpidemicsChina's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 2,000; Iran Reports First Cases

    China’s death toll in its COVID-19 outbreak passed 2,000 today, as Iran reported its first two cases—both fatal—and the number of local cases grew in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Also, 79 more people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus, with quarantine ending for many of those were not infected, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel watch for Hong Kong.

  • EpidemicsCoronavirus: We Need to Start Preparing for the Next Viral Outbreak Now

    By David E. Bloom and Daniel Cadarette

    The coronavirus outbreak is officially a crisis – let’s not waste it. Undeniably, the international community is taking the matter very seriously, as it should, given that the death total from the COVID-19 epidemic already well surpasses that from SARS in the early 2000s. However, even if the international response to COVID-19 has been relatively strong, it may rightfully be considered too little too late, with the epidemic already underway. That’s a mistake we shouldn’t repeat. As global health researchers, we study the full societal value of vaccination and other interventions to combat infectious disease. Given the tremendous costs associated with epidemics, it’s vital that we begin working to prevent the next outbreak, even as the world struggles to fight COVID-19.

  • EpidemicsStrengthening the U.S. System of Care for Infectious Diseases

    What does experience with past outbreaks suggest about the strengths and gaps of the current system of care for rare but serious infectious diseases? How might the current system be strengthened or more formalized to address those gaps? How could a more formalized system be financed, both in terms of initial investments and long-term sustainability? A study published by RAND in 2018 offers answers which relevant to the present.

  • PerspectiveRussia Knows Just Who to Blame for the Coronavirus: America

    The coronavirus outbreak has been accompanied by an avalanche of conspiracy theories about the outbreak. “But in Russia the misinformation has been particularly pointed. Russia’s spin doctors have capitalized on the fear and confusion of the epidemic to point the blame at the United States,” Amy McKinnong writers. McKinnon notes that the Russian messaging fits a now well-established pattern in that it doesn’t look to persuade audiences of a single alternative truth, because “That would take effort, planning, and persuasion.” Rather, Kremlin propaganda specialists produce “a steady stream of underdeveloped, sometimes contradictory conspiracy theories intended to exhaust and confuse viewers, making them question the very notion of objective truth itself.”

  • EpidemicsDeaths from Coronavirus disease – Newly Named COVID-19 -- top 1,000

    The disease caused by novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) now has a formal name, COVID-19, and deaths in China topped 1,000 as the United States confirmed its 13th case, which involves a Wuhan evacuee who is quarantined in California. In other developments, China reported 2,478 new illnesses amid a new report that more than 500 healthcare workers have been infected in its outbreak.

  • EpidemicsStudy: To Slow an Epidemic, Focus on Handwashing

    By David L. Chandler

    A new study estimates that improving the rates of handwashing by travelers passing through just 10 of the world’s leading airports could significantly reduce the spread of many infectious diseases. And the greater the improvement in people’s handwashing habits at airports, the more dramatic the effect on slowing the disease, the researchers found.

  • China syndromeThe Silent Threat of the Coronavirus: America’s Dependence on Chinese Pharmaceuticals

    By Christine Crudo Blackburn, Andrew Natsios, Gerald W Parker, and Leslie Ruyle

    As the new coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, spreads rapidly around the globe, the international community is scrambling to keep up. In the midst of all of this, a potential crisis simmers in the shadows: The global dependence on China for the production of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Today, about 80 percent of pharmaceuticals sold in the U.S. are produced in China. This number, while concerning, hides an even greater problem: China is the largest and sometimes only global supplier for the active ingredient of some vital medications. The U.S. must develop a response plan for the inevitable shortages in the near-term and take necessary actions to reclaim control of our medical supply chain. Continuing to overlook this long-known vulnerability will only lead to catastrophe.

  • EpidemicsChina nCoV Surge Exceeds 17,000 as More Support Announced for Vaccine Development

    With the addition of the new cases, China’s total now stands at 17,205 confirmed cases and 361 related deaths. More than 11,000 of the cases are reported from Hubei province, home of Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter. The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled two new key resources, an online Q and A to answer some of the most common questions and knock down some myths, and two groups announced more support for vaccine development.

  • EpidemicsThe Trump Administration Has Made the U.S. Less Ready for Infectious Disease Outbreaks Like Coronavirus

    By Linda J. Bilmes

    As coronavirus continues to spread, the Trump administration has declared a public health emergency and imposed quarantines and travel restrictions. However, over the past three years the administration has weakened the offices in charge of preparing for and preventing this kind of outbreak. Two years ago, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates warned that the world should be “preparing for a pandemic in the same serious way it prepares for war.” Gates, whose foundation has invested heavily in global health, suggested staging simulations, war games and preparedness exercises to simulate how diseases could spread and to identify the best response. The Trump administration has done exactly the opposite.

  • ArgumentTrump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response

    If the coronavirus begins to spread in the United States, what would we do? How would the U.S. government respond? Laurie Garrett writes that the answers to these questions “are especially worrying because the government has intentionally rendered itself incapable. In 2018, the Trump administration fired the government’s entire pandemic response chain of command, including the White House management infrastructure.” She adds: “The next epidemic is now here; we’ll soon know the costs imposed by the Trump administration’s early negligence and present panic.”

  • EpidemicsWHO Declares nCoV Public Health Emergency amid Virus Spread

    The World Health Organization (WHO) director-general on Thursday declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) for China’s novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, based on the nearly unanimous recommendation of its emergency committee. China’s surge of cases continues; India and the Philippines reported their first cases; and a handful of affected countries reported more cases, most of them linked to travel, but a few involving local transmission.

  • EpidemicsThree More Novel Coronavirus Cases Reported in U.S.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Sunday that its testing has confirmed three more Wuhan-linked novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases, two in California and one in Arizona, raising the national total to five.