Health

Epidemiologist at Harvard: “COVID-19, it’s the most daunting virus”

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For a veteran epidemiologist, an authority on homeland security, and a global health reporter, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus is the type of emergency they had long anticipated. But now that it is here, the three experts said Friday, they still couldn’t help but feel the monumentality of what they were watching unfold.

“It’s the most daunting virus that we’ve contended with in half a century or more,” Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said at a panel discussion at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Helen Branswell, STAT’s infectious diseases and public health reporter, has covered emerging pathogens since the 2003 SARS outbreak.

But with the new coronavirus, Branswell said during the panel, “It’s bizarre but I find myself startled. Having written about the possibility of something like this for years, I still find myself really startled that it’s happening, and I don’t know why that is.”

She compared the circumstances now to the summer of 2014, when Ebola was racing through West Africa and the world didn’t seem to have a plan to stop it. “Except that I never worried then about Ebola spreading in the city I lived in,” she said. “It’s different now.”

Read more at statnews.com

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