• Why Homicide Rates Spiked 30% During the Pandemic

    The number of homicides in the United States spiked almost 30% during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a phenomenon seen in both cities and rural areas, and in Republican and Democratic-leaning states. While there have been calls from some quarters to abolish or defund the police, the vast majority of Americans oppose getting rid of police departments.

  • Disaster Expert Testifies in Congress Regarding Future Pandemics

    “The severity, the disruptions, the politicization of the response, the inequities, and the pandemics’ persistence were all predicted in various reports, studies, and historical records of prior pandemics. The shortage of ventilators, personal protective equipment, and healthcare system capacity was the subject of numerous reports, including from the federal government…. We didn’t want to spend the money on what was needed, so we are dealing with the consequences now. And our response is a lot more expensive and a lot less effective as a result”: Colombia University’s Jeffrey Schlegelmilch.

  • Low-Cost Radio System Could Help Trace Disease Spread

    In efforts to limit the spread of disease while preserving privacy, an interdisciplinary research team at NIST has designed and tested low-cost devices and methods that can detect when people or animals come into close contact with each other.

  • Support for Populist Politics “Collapsed” During the Pandemic: Report

    Support for populist parties and politicians, and agreement with populist sentiment, has fallen amid the pandemic, according to a “mega-dataset” taking in the attitudes of over half a million people across 109 countries.

  • Competition and Collaboration: Understanding Interacting Epidemics Can Unlock Better Disease Forecasts

    A new algorithm increases scientists’ abilities to accurately model mutually dependent spreading processes, from virus outbreaks to disinformation on social media.

  • Lockdowns During Early Pandemic Saved Lives, but Not a Go-To Strategy Moving Forward: Study

    The U.S. pandemic lockdown in 2020 caused a $2.3 trillion economic downturn and split the nation politically, and now some European nations are locking down again as Omicron surges through the global population. But do these drastic measures save lives? Are they worth massive job and income losses?

  • Home for the Holidays? The Global Implications of a State-Level Cyberattack

    The 4 December 2021 cyberattack on the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) appeared, at first blush to be a local-to-Maryland problem. Maggie Smith writes, however, that “the MDH hack points to a concerning development at the nexus of cybercrime and data supply chains,” as it “shows how fragile data supply chains can be and signals how easy it is to disrupt even the most critical data flows by stopping the upstream flow of data that provides the insights and statistics on which the nations’ decision-makers rely.”  

  • Public-Health-Crisis Lessons from the Pandemic

    “Just as the emergency department in a hospital is in a constant state of preparedness and response to the needs of their patients on an individual level - and on a mass casualty level in disasters - public health professionals in emergency preparedness are always at the ready to prepare for, drill, and respond to the community and the disasters that inevitably will affect it,” says UCLA’s Dr. Robert Kim-Farley.

  • German Police Unlawfully Accessed Data on Contact-Tracing App

    Police investigators in the German city of Mainz used the Luca app to search for witnesses in a case they were working on. To get around federal and state laws banning such use of the contact-tracing app, the city’s prosecutor office simulated a COVID-19 infection originating near the scene of the incident under investigation.

  • How Our Outdated Privacy Laws Doomed Contact-Tracing Apps

    Last spring, when the disease first started its rapid spread, contact-tracing apps were heralded as a promising way to control it by tracking diagnoses and exposure through self-reporting and location tracking. Jessica Rich writes that these apps have had mixed success worldwide, but “they’ve been a huge failure in the United States.” He adds: “A key reason for this failure is that people don’t trust the tech companies or the government to collect, use, and store their personal data, especially when that data involves their health and precise whereabouts.”

  • The Battle of the SARS-CoV-2 Variants

    In order to fight the pandemic in the long term, it is crucial to understand why one variant prevails over another. A new study has provided important answers by comparing the spread and transmission of different emerging variants in parallel.

  • Experts Call on Biden Administration to Change Pandemic Plan

    On Thursday, members of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 pandemic transition team called on the president to shift his approach to the virus, accepting that it will be endemic and that new variants could emerge and arguing that the country needs a new strategy for living with the virus two years after it was first identified in Wuhan, China.

  • More Trusting Societies Have Been More Successful at Reducing Coronavirus Cases and Deaths

    Countries where people have more trust in each other have been more successful in bringing down waves of coronavirus cases and deaths, a new study shows.

  • Early Israeli Findings Show Fivefold Boost from Fourth COVID Vaccine Dose

    Researchers in Israel, who monitored the results of fourth COVID-1 vaccine shots, report that these second booster shots produce a fivefold increase in antibody levels.

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the Military Is a Manageable Challenge

    The military has vaccinated the vast majority of service members, but pockets of hesitancy remain. What’s driving the reluctance, and what should be done to overcome it?