For years, medical experts have used wastewater to track the spread of diseases. The National Wastewater Surveillance System has the potential to significantly change the way we fight COVID-19 as well as future pandemics, bacterial diseases, and viruses. But building up the robustness of a wastewater surveillance system will take financial support, and it's not clear Congress will provide it.
President Joe Biden has called for the U.S. intelligence community to redouble efforts to determine the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In conducting this investigation, it might be useful to avoid only focusing on a binary choice. That is, either the virus escaped from the laboratory or from a spillover from an infected animal to a human.
Mobile phone surveillance can augment public health interventions to manage COVID-19 and might help countries prepare for the next outbreak. But these programs collect sensitive health and behavior data. That raises significant risks to personal privacy and civil liberties.
This weekly recap focuses on the future of U.S.-China competition, privacy concerns surrounding mobile tools used to track COVID-19, how telemedicine can help patients access specialized care, and more.
Biological outbreaks have been a fear among experts for decades and human activities present windows of vulnerability. To address this, America needs to have a new approach to biosafety and biosecurity that addresses the full range of biological threats that humankind and the global environment will face in the future.