• Gap 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.

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

    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.

  • Technological Obsolescence

    In addition to killing over a million Americans, Covid-19 revealed embarrassing failures of local, state, and national public health systems to accurately and effectively collect, transmit, and process information. But the important issue is not that many national health systems continued to use fax machines: the better question is “what factors made fax machines more attractive than more capable technologies?” The answer to this question provides a better window into the complex, evolving world of technological obsolescence.

  • Why Scientists Have a Hard Time Getting Money to Study the Root Causes of Outbreaks

    Government and nonprofit groups that award grants to scientists favor research that’s high tech and treatment oriented rather than studies that seek to understand why contagions leap from animals to people in the first place.

  • Architecture After COVID: How the Pandemic Inspired Building Designers

    As a greater awareness of hygiene in cities emerged, urban spaces and buildings were reorganized in order to minimize physical surface contact. The public became afraid or skeptical of touching handrails, door handles, elevator buttons or any leaning support. Architects have had to adapt to these new design priorities and instincts.

  • COVID-19’s Total Cost to the U.S. Economy Will Reach $14 Trillion by End of 2023: New Research

    Putting a price tag on all the pain, suffering and upheaval Americans and people around the world have experienced because of COVID-19 is hard to do. To come up with estimates, researchers used economic modeling to approximate the revenue lost due to mandatory business closures at the beginning of the pandemic, and the cost of the many changes in personal behavior that continued long after the lockdown orders were lifted.

  • Pandemic Preparedness Policy

    A new report from CSET assesses the U.S. preparedness for families of viral pathogens of pandemic potential and offers recommendations for steps the U.S. government can take to prepare for future pandemics.

  • Senate Republicans Release COVID Origins Report

    Senate Republicans have released their report exploring the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, building on the short interim report released in October 2022. Critics note that as was the case with the interim report, this fuller version relies on circumstantial evidence, not scientific facts, and that it contains many factual errors, in addition to poor understanding of the Chinese language.

  • Warning: Prospecting for Unknown Viruses Risks a Deadly Outbreak

    The coronavirus pandemic which swept the globe offered a scary case study in how a single virus of uncertain origin can spread exponentially. The pandemic has also challenged conventional thinking about biosafety and risks, casting a critical light on widely accepted practices such as prospecting for unknown viruses.

  • Fighting Biological Threats

    Modeling the emergence and spread of biological threats isn’t as routine as forecasting the weather, but scientists in two of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories were awarded funding to try to make it so. The scientists will work together to advance computational tools and solutions for known and unknown diseases.

  • COVID Omicron Variant Infection Deadlier Than Flu: Studies

    Two new studies suggest that COVID-19 Omicron variant infection is deadlier than influenza, with one finding that US veterans hospitalized with Omicron in fall and winter 2022-23 died at a 61% higher rate than hospitalized flu patients.

  • The Origin of SARS-CoV-2: Animal Transmission or Lab Leak?

    The origin of the virus that causes COVID-19, which spread from China to the rest of the world and has killed millions of people, is a scientific mystery, the answer to which has strong political implications. Gigi Kwik Gronvall writes that “by comparison to past deadly epidemics, what we know about the early days of SARS-CoV-2 is less obscure. Though the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic is now the focus of hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives and headlines focused on whether the virus emerged from nature or a laboratory, the most likely origin of SARS-CoV-2 is animal-to-human transmission, like most emerging diseases.”

  • What Makes a Global Killer

    Larry Brilliant, doctor who helped vanquish smallpox, assesses COVID response and warns of rising threats, including lack of trust. “The first lesson is that we live in a cause-and-effect world. Truth matters and communicating that truth in as transparent and honest a way as you possibly can matters” Brilliant says.

  • mRNA Vaccine Beats Infection for Key Defense against COVID-19: Stanford Scientists

    The Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine directed at COVID-19 is much better than natural infection at revving up key immune cells called killer T cells to fight future infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 Origins: New Evidence, and More Politics

    Last week, researchers released a report linking SARS-CoV-2 to six near-complete samples of raccoon-dog mitochondrial DNA sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The report says that “These results provide potential leads to identifying intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 and potential sources of human infections in the market.”