A major COVID-19 milestone was achieved last month that indicates the downward infection and hospitalization rates caused by it have now receded to justify dropping its designation as an active pandemic. The United States ended its federal Public Health Emergency on May 11 and used that announcement to herald the incredible national effort regarding testing, vaccines, and treatment.
Of course, given recent history, there is a high likelihood that another global pandemic looms. In light of the enormous difficulties nations worldwide faced in developing effective COVID-19 coordinated responses, the task ahead will be equally formidable – namely, how to mitigate massive public health threats in a timely and effective way.
Continue reading “Media and Other Stakeholders Should Have a Role in Future Pandemic Planning”
Our nation’s momentum toward accelerated COVID-19 vaccine distribution is fully apparent. President Joe Biden has publicly urged state governments to make every adult in the U.S. eligible for a vaccine by May 1.
With this fast-track schedule, increasing attention now should be focused on how Americans will be able to digitally verify their vaccine completion status, not only for travel abroad but possibly even to get into local sporting events, theaters, hotels, or cruise ships.
Continue reading “Digital COVID Vaccine Passports Should Be Antitrust-Exempt”
The resumption of daily press briefings by the new White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, has brought back a welcomed routine of making the president’s chief spokesperson available for informational updates and responses to questions posed by various reporters in the press corps. Ms. Psaki typically holds these weekday sessions in the early afternoon and they can be viewed on a variety of websites.
With that scheduling constant now in place, it’s time for the Biden Administration to devise a separate social media schedule for COVID-19 updates to help minimize the tsunami of misinformation about testing, PPE availability, mandated mask orders, vaccine supply, and actual vaccinations. These updates should be based on actual data and science, not on rumors or speculation. And when sufficient information is not yet forthcoming, we should be told why it has not been released and when it may be made public.
Continue reading “Greater Social Media Trust Is Needed To Fight COVID-19”
Two hundred and thirty-one years ago this week, Congress passed a collection of amendments to the U.S. Constitution, 10 of which would become the Bill of Rights. Foremost in the Bill of Rights is the First Amendment, which allows Americans to worship how they please, speak their minds openly, and have their voices heard by their government.
Our Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, also included in the First Amendment the right to a free press. They understood that our democracy could not survive without the freedom to report the news without fear or favor. The times may have changed; that principle has not.
Continue reading “First Amendment Still Shines During Toughest of Times”
Among the cutting-edge technologies being employed by public health experts to map various aspects of COVID-19 both at home and abroad, artificial intelligence (AI) faces a test under life-and-death circumstances. The ability of AI systems to undertake pattern detection and predict the spread of the pandemic and its treatments is promising. The benefit of machine learning includes its powerful ability to analyze historic data to find key variables. This task is dependent upon humans, however, specifically in the ability of data scientists who can work on creating data sets that supercomputers then can model. On a global basis, this will require pooling both technical and human resources.
Given the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, historic data inputted for AI analysis may be of limited value. Real-time data comparing growth curves in countries around the world, along with population and demographic information by neighborhood, may prove to be a better vein for producing actionable data anywhere and everywhere. Automated machine learning also may improve the efficiency of data scientists, enabling them to focus on new data generation while relying on computer-to-computer analysis of massive-scale number crunching.
Continue reading “Deploying U.S. AI Leadership for COVID-19”