CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics aims to provide insights into the future of the Covid-19 pandemic and future infectious disease outbreaks, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Georgia, and Maryland, and other states.
- Georgia: CDC on Tuesday started an initiative to provide insights into the future of the Covid-19 pandemic and future infectious disease outbreaks. The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, made up of a team of about 100 scientists, will analyze data and provide policy options and information to decision-makers and members of the public. "We think of ourselves like the National Weather Service, but for infectious diseases," said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist and associate director for science at the CDC initiative. "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 added. (Sun, Washington Post, 4/19)
- Maryland: A new law that took effect last Thursday gives FDA the ability to regulate e-cigarette products made with synthetic nicotine—a move that closed a loophole from vaping companies that used manufactured nicotine to evade FDA regulation and sell their products to teenagers. "As I've said before, this law closes the 'loophole' some tobacco product manufacturers have exploited to bypass FDA's regulatory authority," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf wrote in a tweet. "We'll hold e-cigarette companies using synthetic nicotine to the same public health standards we've implemented for other tobacco products." (Prieb, The Hill, 4/15)
- Universities around the United States have reinstated mask mandates amid an increase in Covid-19 cases. For instance, American University last week announced it would reinstate its mask mandate in all campus buildings in effective April 12. The University of Connecticut on April 15 announced that it was reinstating masking requirements for "all indoor instructional settings, workspaces, and indoor events exceeding 100 individuals," effective April 18. In addition, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and Rice University have also recently reinstated their mask mandates. (Shapero, Axios, 4/19)