• Public Health as National Security

    Experts agree that it is not a matter of if, but when, the next large-scale outbreak of infectious disease will occur. Even as more countries devote more resources to health security – defined as the framework for preventing, detecting, and responding to biological threats, whether naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate – there are still disagreements about whether public health be framed as a national security issue.

  • Addressing Natural and Deliberate Biological Threats: Early Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

    “Infectious disease threats will continue to emerge, whether naturally, by accident, or deliberately. Stopping them from spreading and causing mass effects is possible even today, but we have much work to do bringing our assets to bear” said Andy Weber, Senior Fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR).

  • COVID-19: The Swedish Model

    In the spring of 2020, as it was deciding on what policies to take to deal with the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, the Swedish government chose a different path to many other countries, one based on a voluntary approach and personal responsibility rather than more intrusive measures. The Swedish government has created a commission of experts to assess whether the Swedish model of dealing with the pandemic was reasonable and effective.

  • Women in Global Health: Providing Actionable Insights to Healthcare Providers

    Women make up 70 percent of the healthcare workforce. After almost 2 years of pandemic-driven challenges, women healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response are facing burnout, are leaving the healthcare workforce, and are shifting to part-time work.

  • Preventing Future Pandemics Starts with Recognizing Links between Human and Animal Health

    The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that zoonotic diseases – infections that pass from animals to humans – can present tremendous threats to global health. More than 70 percent of emerging and reemerging pathogens originate from animals.

  • Modeling Improvements Promise Increased Accuracy of Epidemic Forecasting

    Accurate forecasting of epidemic scenarios is critical to implementing effective public health intervention policies. Much progress has been made in predicting the general magnitude and timing of epidemics, but there is still room for improvement in forecasting peak times.

  • U.S. Gun Violence Increased 30 Percent During COVID-19 Pandemic

    Gun violence increased by more than 30 percent in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers said that stress, domestic violence, lack of social interactions and greater access to firearms might have contributed to the increase.

  • Targeted Interventions: Containing Pandemics, Minimizing Societal Disruption

    COVID has so far infected 21 million people, with more than 4.5 of them dying. Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), such as case isolation, quarantining contacts, and the complete lockdown of entire countries, often come at the expense of economic disruption, harm to social and mental well-being, and require costly administration costs to ensure compliance.

  • What Can Masks Do?

    Facemasks have been a contentious issue since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, and the discussion of whether or not the wearing of facemasks should be required – and who has the right, if any, to mandate the wearing of facemasks – has become thoroughly politicized. Lisa M Brosseau and colleagues write that the urgency of responding to the pandemic led to many poorly constructed studies, and the circulation of studies before they were peer-reviewed. “Endless unrealistic expectations, along with gross misinterpretation and overconfidence, have been evident, including claims that masks alone would ‘flatten the curve,’ ‘end the pandemic,’ or ‘reduce the clinical severity of COVID-19’.” They write. “Now, one and a half years into the pandemic, if masks were as effective as many believed them to be, we should have seen significant impacts. But that has not been the case anywhere on the globe.”

  • FEMA’s Initial Response to COVID-19

    During the first months of FEMA’s response to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, the United States faced a debilitating shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare personnel and ventilators for seriously ill patients in hospitals. DHS IG examined the effectiveness of FEMA’s response.

  • Enough with the Quackery, Pinker Says

    “Another contributor [to the opposition to vaccines] is the Myside bias, probably the most powerful of all the cognitive biases, namely, if something becomes an article of faith within your own coalition, and if promoting it earns you status, that is what you believe,” says Harvard’s professor of psychology Steven Pinker, whose latest book — Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters – has just been published. “It’s somewhat arbitrary which positions get attached to which coalitions…. It used to be the tree-hugging Mr. and Ms. Naturals who were suspicious of vaccines — a romantic opposition to science and tech made vaccine resistance a leftish cause. But now it’s more attached to the right. In either case, people are more adamant about protecting the sacred beliefs of their political tribe than looking at the best evidence.”

  • Vaccination Could Have Prevented at Least 90,000 U.S. Deaths Since June: Kaiser Report

    A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that at least 90,000 COVID-19 deaths of unvaccinated adults since June could have been prevented with vaccines. Most of the preventable deaths — about 49,000 — occurred in September as the highly transmissible delta variant sparked a surge in cases.

  • New, $125 Million Project Aims to Detect Emerging Viruses

    A new project, funded with $125 million from USAID, aims to detect and characterize unknown viruses which have the potential to spill over from wildlife and domestic animals to human populations. The 5-year project is expected to yield 8,000 to 12,000 novel viruses, which researchers will then screen and sequence the genomes of the ones that pose the most risk to animal and human health.

  • COVID-19 Could Nudge Minds and Societies Towards Authoritarianism

    Humans have not one but two immune systems. The first, the biophysical immune system. The second is the behavioral immune system, which adapts our behavior to preemptively avoid potentially infectious people, places and things. An examination of the impact of the behavioral immune system on our attitudes towards obedience and authority shows that high rates of infectious diseases – and the disease-avoidance they promote – may fundamentally shape political opinions and social institutions.

  • Insights into COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

    Two recent studies looked at COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in minority groups and opinions around less-preferred vaccines, provide clues for how officials might better encourage immunization.