The Washington Post reports that a new team at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aims to be "like the National Weather Service, but for infectious diseases," as Caitlin Rivers, the associate director for science at the initiative, describes it.
The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics has $200 million in funding to analyze data and trends in the COVID-19 and other pandemics and use that information to advise policymakers and the public to guide decision making using easy-to-understand language.
"We would love to be able for people to look to us to say, 'I'm about to commute on the Red Line. … Should I bring a mask based on what's happening with respiratory disease in my community? Should I have my birthday party outside or inside?' Those kinds of decisions, I think, are where we would like to move toward," Rivers tells the Post.
The team's predictions could also inform more broadly on whether new vaccines are needed or where additional antivirals should be deployed, Dylan George, the director of operations for the new center, says, according to CNN.