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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched a service to forecast infectious diseases and future pandemics Tuesday.
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The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) was created last summer with the goal to “advance the use of forecasting and outbreak analytics in public health decision making,” per the initial press release. The CFA’s work aims to ultimately improve the response to future outbreaks.
“The new center will meet a long-standing need for a national focal point to analyze data and forecast the trajectory of pandemics with the express goal of informing and improving decisions with the best available evidence,” Marc Lipsitch, the team’s director for science, said in the press release.
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The team’s key members include Lipsitch, senior scientist Rebecca Kahn, deputy director Alison Kelly, operations director Dylan George, and associate director Caitlin Rivers.
Its three key focuses are establishing forecasting and prediction abilities to enhance proper real-time decision-making; expanding data-sharing capabilities with software and application programming interfaces; and communicating forecasts with “government, businesses and nonprofits” to ensure effective decision-making.
“This is an amazing opportunity for CDC and public health as we stand up the country’s first government-wide public health forecasting center,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in the statement.
The White House will be hosting a formal launch for the center on Tuesday at the “Summit for Strengthening the Nation’s Early Warning System for Health Threats.”
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The CFA will be granted $200 million in initial funding from the 2021 coronavirus relief package, according to The Associated Press. The center, which will be based out of the CDC, has awarded $21 million to various academic institutions to develop modeling and forecasting means.