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.
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. The CDC's new disease forecasting center aims to guide decisions about broad public health needs like developing vaccines, and helping individuals decide whether it's safe for them to go to the movie theater.
In the months since plans for the center were first announced, the team estimated the severity of the Omicron variant, as well as the timing and impact of the surge in the United States. They've also contributed to analyses that informed policies on test-to-stay in schools, international travel and vaccine boosters.
This launch comes as the CDC is in the midst of a sweeping review of its structures, systems, and processes.
At the conclusion of the effort, they will develop new systems and processes to deliver our science and program to the American people, along with a plan for how CDC should be structured to facilitate the public health work we do.
Throughout the pandemic, the CDC faced criticism for muddy communication, along with slow and disjointed data coming through an outdated system.
Currently, the CDC has to form new data use agreements with each jurisdiction for each new public health issue. However, with this new center, there is opportunity for the CDC to be more directly involved with the data collection process and bring in more standardized data more quickly.
The new forecasting and analytics center has three key areas of focus: predict, inform and innovate.
$21 million has been awarded to academic institutions and $5 million to federal partners to advance modeling and forecasting methodology, with additional investments to be announced in the months ahead.
The center is also building its own outbreak analytics team tasked with developing models and forecasts that allow for quick action and collaborative decision-making, along with a team of people who can effectively communicate these insights with the public sector, the private sector and general society.
The Center will provide critical information to communities so they can respond efficiently and effectively
McPhillips, Deidre. “CDC Launches Forecasting Center to Be like a 'National Weather Service for Infectious Diseases'.” CNN, Cable News Network, 19 Apr. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/19/health/cdc-forecasting-center-launch/index.html.