New CDC team: A ‘Weather Service’ to forecast what’s next in pandemic
Updated: May 24, 2022
While the COVID-19 pandemic is taking an enormous toll on our lives, it has taught several important life lessons to both the general public and scientists. The rapid transmission of the virus from a city in China to the entire world necessitated an urgent need for a tool that can predict the progress and emergence of any such outbreaks in the future. To fill this gap of a centralized, trusted source for forecasting, CDC formed ‘The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics’ with the aim to provide better, faster information about what is likely to happen next in future outbreaks, equivalent to the National Weather Service, but for infectious diseases.
Scientists will analyze data in real-time and communicate the policy options to decision-makers in the federal government and in states. The center will also work with other experts in government and the private sector to answer practical questions about how well certain measures like contact tracing and isolation, closing borders, masking, testing travelers, etc. would help in reducing transmission. It hopes to alert people about as simple as ‘should I commute in red line’, ‘should I have my birthday party outside or inside’, to decisions about mask mandates and gathering restrictions.