CDC launches new infectious disease forecasting center

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially launched a new center that will forecast infectious disease outbreaks. The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics is “the equivalent of the National Weather Service for infectious diseases,” the agency said in a statement. Tuesday

In addition to experts in data analysis and disease modeling, the center will also employ communications specialists to interpret the information for the public.

Planning for the center began last August. It seeks to correct some of the key flaws that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed in the United States’ public health infrastructure. The CDC has never had a dedicated infectious disease forecasting program and has struggled over the past two years to collect and disseminate information about the spread of COVID-19 in a timely manner. US officials have regularly leaned on data from other countries to understand who is at risk for the disease and how well the protections offered by different vaccines hold up.

Researchers at the center have already produced data that will help improve our understanding of the ommicron variant of the virus, showing that it produced less severe outcomes than the delta variant in the US. The Washington Post reported.

But the center’s analysis can only be as good as the information it bases that analysis on. Experts say to increase funding and attention at the local level to collect good data on COVID-19 and other diseases.

Jeffrey Duchin, Washington State Health Officer for Seattle and King County, told The Washington Post.


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