As New Data Improve Our Understanding of COVID-19, Our Responses to It Could Become More Effective

CDC Director Robert Redfield explains illness surveillance programs in front of a chart showing statistics of patients seeking treatment for influenza-like illnesses during the coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 17, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
The clearer our epidemiological picture of the coronavirus, the stronger our efforts to fight its spread.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE U ntil recently, the most commonly accepted timeline suggested that the COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China in late December 2019, first hit the U.S. in mid January, and caused its first American death at the end of February. In total, over 1 million individuals have been infected with the coronavirus in the U.S., and 58,000 have died, for a rough American case-fatality rate of 5.8 percent.

Unfortunately, this epidemiological profile comes with several caveats: There are many Americans who have caught the virus but don’t show up in the official infected count because they haven’t been tested. And at least some

Jonathan Ellen is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and public-health academic who previously served as the CEO of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.


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