The Novel Coronavirus: Why are such outbreaks difficult to prevent and where do we go from here?

On February 6, the Berkeley Public Health community gathered to hear a discussion between Dr. Art Reingold, infectious disease expert and professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health; Erin Allday, veteran health reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle; and Dr. Anna Harte, medical director at the Tang Center, University Health Services. Their discussion focused on the latest news concerning the coronavirus outbreak, why such outbreaks are difficult to predict and prepare for, and how the public health community can best respond.

“The situation is evolving rapidly,” said Reingold. “It’s pointing out enormous gaps in the global capacity to prepare for, predict, and respond to such infections. The world has a lot of work to do.”

The first known human infection occurred in early December 2019. Latest estimates say that the coronavirus outbreak has sickened more than 43,000 people in China and 24 other countries across Asia, Oceania, Europe, and North America. In China, health officials report that 1,018 people have died. In the United States, the 13th case was confirmed yesterday, February 10, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The individual was an evacuee from Wuhan, China, under federal quarantine in San Diego.

“It’s local public health that really has to respond to problems like this,” said Reingold. “I take enormous pride in knowing that people who graduate from our school and other schools of public health are at the frontlines.”

Watch the video to hear the whole discussion.

The Novel Coronavirus: Why are such outbreaks difficult to prevent and where do we go from here?

Event photo gallery