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CDC Launches Forecasting Center To Be Like a National Weather Service for Infectious Diseases

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched its Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics on Tuesday. The center aims to be like the “National Weather Service for infectious diseases,” helping to guide decision-making at all levels. From a report: Data-driven weather forecasts help leaders know when to deploy resources to respond to hurricanes and individuals decide whether they need to bring an umbrella with them when they go out. Similarly, the CDC’s new disease forecasting center aims to guide decisions about broad public health needs like developing vaccines or deploying antivirals, and helping individuals decide whether it’s safe for them to go to the movie theater, Dylan George, epidemiologist and director of operations for the new center, said during a call with reporters. George and a small team of colleagues are faced with tackling a “critical need” to improve the government’s “ability to forecast and model emerging health threats. In short, we need to use data more effectively to guide response efforts,” he said. As the United States approaches a grim milestone of 1 million lives lost to Covid-19, recently appointed White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said “the failure to be prepared is really startling.”