• EPIDEMICSPreparing for the Next Pandemic: Improved Method for Tackling Bird Flu

    Concerning reports about avian flu outbreaks at poultry facilities across the country and abroad highlight the increasingly urgent need for a safe and effective vaccine that could thwart a possible spread of the virus from human to human. Researchers have developed an improved way to test potential vaccines against bird flu.

  • RESPONSE TO EPIDEMICSAfter COVID, Systems Need to Be Crisis-Ready for Better Public Health Response

    By Kristen Mally Dean

    The National Science Foundation funded Argonne and others to study the COVID-19 experiences of public health officials and stakeholders. By improving prediction and prevention, they hope to avoid reinventing a wheel no one wants rolling back into town.

  • EXTREMISMHigh Rate of Mental Health Problems and Political Extremism Found in Those Who Bought Firearms During COVID Pandemic

    People who bought firearms during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have much higher rates of suicidal thoughts, self-harm behaviors and intimate partner violence, a study suggests, compared with other firearm owners and people who don’t own firearms. Pandemic firearm buyers were also much more likely than the other groups to hold extreme beliefs, ranging from anti-vaccination views to support for QAnon conspiracy theories.

  • EPIDEMICSActing Fast When an Epidemic Hits

    Researchers have developed a method for forecasting the short-term progression of an epidemic using extremely limited amounts of data. The forecasting model uses machine learning to predict short-term disease progression.

  • COVID RESPONSESweden During the Pandemic: Pariah or Paragon?

    By Johan Norberg

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden stood out from other countries, stubbornly refusing lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandates. The main difference between Sweden’s strategy and that of most other countries was that it mostly relied on voluntary adaptation rather than government force. It seems likely that Sweden did much better than other countries in terms of the economy, education, mental health, and domestic abuse, and still came away from the pandemic with fewer excess deaths than in almost any other European country, and less than half that of the United States.

  • PANDEMIC LOSSESAn Experiment to Fight Pandemic-Era Learning Loss Launches in Richmond

    By Alec MacGillis

    After intense opposition and skepticism, two elementary schools opened 20 days early to help students make up for what they missed during the time of remote learning. The first question: Would kids show up in the middle of summer for extra schooling?

  • PUBLIC HEALTHScent Dogs Can Detect COVID-19 More Rapidly, Accurately Than Current Tests

    Scent dogs may represent a cheaper, faster and more effective way to detect COVID-19, and could be a key tool in future pandemics, a new review of recent research suggests. The review found that scent dogs are as effective, or even more effective, than conventional COVID-19 tests such as RT-PCR.

  • PUBLIC HEALTHU.S. Animal Industries Pose Serious Risk of Future Zoonotic Pandemics

    Animal industries in the United States pose serious risk of future pandemics and the U.S. government lacks a comprehensive strategy to address these threats, a new study concludes. The study is the first to comprehensively map networks of animal commerce that fuel zoonotic disease risk in the U.S.

  • PANDEMICSCOVID: How Incorrect Assumptions and Poor Foresight Hampered the U.K. Pandemic Preparedness

    By Robert Van Der Meer

    In 2016, the UK government engaged in a series of exercises including Cygnus to assess their preparedness and response to a pandemic outbreak of a pandemic. No planning exercise can cover all eventualities. But a key requirement for policymakers should be to learn as fast and effectively as possible while events unfold. The business concept of “dynamic capability” – that is, an organization’s ability to configure and reconfigure its assets, processes and capabilities so as to respond effectively to rapidly changing external circumstances – is useful here. Building and strengthening this capability should be a prerequisite for policymakers and planners in government.

  • COVID ORIGINSDeclassified U.S. Intelligence Answers Few Questions on Origins of COVID-19

    By Jeff Seldin

    On Friday, the U.S. intelligence community released declassified U.S. intelligence on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, following a March executive order signed by President Joe Biden. The report said that despite concerns about biosafety measures at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), and despite its history of work with coronaviruses, there is no intelligence that indicates COVID-19 was present in the lab before the outbreak.

  • COVID ORIGINSU.S. Intelligence Agencies Have Not Yet Released Expected COVID-19 Materials

    In March, President Joe Biden signed the COVID-⁠19 Origin Act of 2023 into law, setting up a requirement for the U.S. Intelligence Community to release as much information possible about the origin of COVID-19. The intelligence community has not yet released that information.

  • INFODEMICCOVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation and Disinformation Costs an Estimated $50 to $300 Million Each Day

    By Richard Bruns, Divya Hosangadi Marc Trotochaud, and Tara Kirk Sell

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that false or misleading health-related information can dangerously undermine the response to a public health crisis. Misinformation and disinformation have contributed to reduced trust in medical professionals and public health responders, increased belief in false medical cures, politicized public health countermeasures aimed at curbing transmission of the disease, and increased loss of life.

  • PANDEMIC SCHOOL-CLOSURE COSTSCan America’s Students Recover What They Lost During the Pandemic?

    By Alec MacGillis

    Disastrous test scores increasingly show how steep a toll the COVID-19 era exacted on students, particularly minorities. Schools are grappling with how to catch up, and the experience of one city shows how intractable the obstacles are.

  • EXCESS DEATHSGap in ‘Excess Deaths’ Has Widened Between U.S. and Europe, but Only Partly Due to COVID-19

    Among all but oldest age groups, U.S. has higher death rates than five high-income European nations. The new study also found that the gap between the U.S. and the five other nations — England and Wales, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — widened during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the study reveals, only a portion of that phenomenon was directly attributable to COVID-19.

  • PANDEMICSOne Way to Prevent Pandemics: Don’t Harm or Disturb Bats and Their Habitats

    By Olivia Hall

    As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly subsides, focused on how such surges in deaths, illness, and suffering – as well as their economic costs – can be prevented in the future. One basic solution, the authors argue, may lie in a global taboo against harming or disturbing bats and their habitats.