What did we know? When did we know it? And what are we doing about it now? — Reflections on Covid

One topic left mainly unaddressed in our discussions around Covid-19 is data. What data did we have before this outbreak? What data are we collecting today? And how are we using both sets of data to help us end the current epidemic and prevent disease outbreaks in the future?

Today’s technology and surveillance systems allow us to gather incredible amounts of data, analyze it quickly, and apply our learnings to develop a clear course of action. If we were paying attention to the right subsets of data, we would have seen Covid-19 coming. But we didn’t.

I recently had a conversation with Alex Pentland, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and Director of the Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He provided invaluable insight into the type of data that is most useful for detecting early infections and emerging outbreaks. He also highlighted the gaps in the use of this data in the United States and our ongoing failures to properly plan for future outbreaks.

Read/listen to the conversation online (April 16, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.