Giving Compass' Take:

• Gerardo Chowell, professor of mathematical epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, has been tracking the epidemic since January and shares insight on the next steps and predictions for COVID-19. 

• How can donors prepare for the next steps in addressing COVID-19? 

• Here is a toolkit and guidance for donors on how to respond to the pandemic. 

Back in January, Chowell, professor of mathematical epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, traveled to New York. For weeks, he had tracked the coronavirus outbreaks in China and Europe, and he understood some of the unique dangers COVID-19 presented.

In New York, however, he saw evidence everywhere that the epidemic had not yet penetrated the general consciousness.

“I was the only one wearing a face mask on the plane, on the subway,” he says. “Most people just looked at me strangely. It takes a while for the public to get a reality check.”

Since then, Chowell has been on the forefront of epidemiological research on the coronavirus pandemic, producing daily forecasts of cases and deaths in a number of countries, including the United States.

Here, he explains his research and his predictions for how the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to unfold:

Months ago, you began publishing forecasts of the coronavirus outbreak, starting in China. At what point did you begin to realize that this would become a large-scale global pandemic?

It took a while for it to really sink in. Even in the first weeks of January, I was still optimistic that we could break the chains of transmission in this country—that we could detect cases early and stop the outbreaks. I thought, “We can do contact tracing, we have the best center for disease control in the world. We even offered help to China!”

But there were a number of issues, starting with the slow rate of testing and issues with the original testing kits. We lost a lot of time, and the virus was able to penetrate the population very quietly. There were hundreds of introductions that we didn’t catch. I still think about it and I’m incredulous that we didn’t stop this.

Read the full article about next steps for COVID-19 by Jennifer Rainey Marquez at Futurity.