• During Pandemic: More News, More Worry

    Anxiety and fear went hand in hand with trying to learn more about COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic in the United States — and the most distressed people were turning on the television and scrolling through social media.

  • Google/Apple's Contact-Tracing Apps Susceptible to Digital Attacks

    Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists and health authorities have relied on contact-tracing technologies to help manage the spread of the virus. Yet there’s a major flaw in a framework that many of these mobile apps utilize – one that attackers could exploit to ramp up false positive notifications.

  • Local Focus Can Prevent Failures in Large Networks

    We live in an increasingly connected world, a fact underscored by the swift spread of the coronavirus around the globe. Underlying this connectivity are complex networks — global air transportation, the internet, power grids, financial systems and ecological networks, to name just a few. The need to ensure the proper functioning of these systems also is increasing, but control is difficult.

  • What Makes a Pandemic Take Off?

    Looking for potential “black swan” outbreaks can help us prepare for the future.

  • Climate Change Could Spark the Next Pandemic

    As the Earth’s climate continues to warm, researchers predict wild animals will be forced to relocate their habitats — likely to regions with large human populations — dramatically increasing the risk of a viral jump to humans that could lead to the next pandemic.

  • Fact Checks Effectively Counter COVID Misinformation

    New study finds that journalistic fact checks are a more effective counter to COVID-19 misinformation than the false news tags commonly used by social media outlets. “We find that more information may be an antidote to misinformation,” conclude the authors of the study.

  • WHO Estimates Nearly 15 Million Deaths Linked to COVID Pandemic

    The World Health Organization said more than twice as many people died as a result of the COVID pandemic than official data shows, if including deaths of other causes that might not have occurred in more typical times.

  • Machine-Learning Techniques for Predicting the Evolution of Epidemics

    Machine learning techniques can provide an assumption-free analysis of epidemic case data with surprisingly good prediction accuracy and the ability to dynamically incorporate the latest data. The techniques used to analyze case data show promise for predicting the evolution of an epidemic.

  • ‘Ukraine Biolabs’: How Attempts to Debunk a Conspiracy Theory Only Helped It Spread

    As Russian forces moved into Ukraine on 24 February, stories of U.S.-funded biolabs and bioweapon research in Ukraine began to spread on social media. The false claims spread from right-wing circles but became more wide-spread, and were soon picked up by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. It wasn’t long until the Russian government, which had spread tales of Ukrainian biolabs in the past, adopted the narrative as a belated justification for the invasion. But, ironically, the very effort to debunk the Russian propaganda promoted by Carlson and Russia only gave to story more oxygen.

  • Trump’s Vaccine Endorsement Moves the Needle on COVID-19 Vaccines

    A team of economists and political scientists that included Stanford’s Brad Larsen ran a large-scale advertising experiment in thousands of U.S. counties showing a video compilation of former President Donald Trump’s Fox News interview recommending the COVID-19 vaccine, leading to a significant increase in vaccinations.

  • SAVE: Pandemic's Urgency Drove New Collaborative Approaches Worldwide

    In January 2021 the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases assembled a team, drawing on experts from around the world who specialize in relevant research fields such as viruses, the immune system, vaccines, epidemiology, structural biology, bioinformatics, virus genetics, and evolution. The team is called SAVE, for SARS-CoV-2 Assessment of Viral Evolution. SAVE team changed how science is done, spanning 58 institutions.

  • Demographics Alone Do Not Explain COVID-19 Mortality Rates -- Place Matters, Too

    Many Americans became amateur data scientists during the pandemic, tracking local rates of infection or vaccination to help them decide what activities may or may not be safe. Researchers examined this collected county-level data, and found that different demographic groups are vulnerable in different ways—often depending on their geographic location.

  • Global COVID-19 Deaths May Be 3 Times Higher Than Recorded

    Today in The Lancet researchers say excess deaths data indicate that the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic may be more than three times higher than officially record. Excess mortality was calculated as observed mortality minus expected mortality. The authors excluded weekly death tolls during times of anomalies, such as heat waves, from their calculations.

  • Airports, Airlines Call for Intra-EU COVID Travel Restrictions to Be Dropped

    Airport and airline organizations have called for all remaining COVID restrictions applying to intra-EU and Schengen area travel to be dropped, including all testing requirements, the need to present proof of vaccination, or complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).

  • Exploring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nuclear Security

    A new study examines measures put in place in the nuclear sector in the U.K. to mitigate risks from the pandemic. The study identifies a series of lessons learnt in maintaining nuclear security. It also provides recommendations for managing the continuing impact of the pandemic and preparing for future crises.