Public Health Preparedness

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Public health emergencies such as infectious disease, bioterrorism, or natural disasters require a coordinated response at the local, national, and international levels. RAND research improves the capability of public health systems to anticipate and prepare for such emergencies, by providing a robust set of standardized response measures, tabletop exercises, and toolkits; using GIS technology for planning; and identifying best practices and lessons learned from multiagency exercises.

  • A person donates blood during a Red Cross and Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team blood drive at Chase Field in Phoenix, April 28, 2020, photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP Images

    Essay

    A Stable Blood Supply Is Critical in the COVID-19 Era

    Aug 27, 2020

    Millions of lives depend on the U.S. blood supply. But no one knows exactly how much blood is in the system at any given time, or whether it's enough to meet demand. The federal government has no way to collect that data, and hospitals don't share it with each other. What can be done to strengthen the system?

  • A map of the continental United States is shown with lines representing COVID-19 importation risk

    Project

    Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 with Air Travel Data

    Jun 5, 2020

    As the pandemic enters a new phase, punctuated by emerging hot spots and continuing global spread, a new RAND tool lets policymakers predict regional risks of importing cases of COVID-19.

Explore Public Health Preparedness

  • Business owner in a mask posting a closed sign on the door, photo by RichLegg/Getty Images

    Report

    Comparing National and International Approaches to COVID-19 Measures

    Uniform measures are needed to track how well other countries and U.S. states are responding to the pandemic and to make valid cross-country and cross-state comparisons. From December 2019 to May 2020, there was tremendous variability in how COVID-19 indicators were measured and reported. What could be done to allow for more standardized and valid comparisons?

    Jan 29, 2021

  • COVID-19 vaccination stations inside Hillcrest High School, a designated New York City priority vaccination center for people in group 1B, in Queens, NY, January 11, 2021, photo by Anthony Behar/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Options for 2021

    The disorganized public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States helped ensure that the nation led the world in infections nearly from the beginning of the pandemic. With vaccines now becoming available, are we over the problem? Not necessarily.

    Jan 12, 2021

  • People talk outside of Flora Gallery and Coffee Shop near a downed tree in the street after Hurricane Zeta swept through New Orleans, Louisiana, October 29, 2020, photo by Kathleen Flynn/Reuters

    Report

    When Hurricanes Happen During Pandemics

    Hurricanes can change patterns of mobility and expand the spread of COVID-19, for example, to communal shelters. On the other hand, fear of the virus could cause people who might otherwise evacuate to shelter in place, resulting in more deaths from a hurricane. How can policymakers prepare for this threat?

    Dec 9, 2020

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: November-December 2020

    Features explore the challenge of delivering effective treatments for veterans with co-occuring disorders; teachers, students, and the importance of civic responsibility in present-day America; and teaching and learning in the age of COVID-19.

    Nov 16, 2020

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: September-October 2020

    Feature stories explore how Pardee RAND is helping to shape the future of public policy through its Faculty Leaders Program; the safety and sustainability of the U.S. blood supply; and how telemedicine is changing the delivery of health care.

    Sep 8, 2020

  • Blog

    Voting in a Pandemic, the U.S. Postal Service, Defunding the Police: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Americans' views about voting in the age of COVID-19, what makes the U.S. Postal Service so essential, why some in law enforcement may be open to “defunding the police,” and more.

    Aug 28, 2020

  • Child wearing a face mask and gloves, holding a binder with Back to School and drawings of coronavirus, photo by Amy Mitchell/Getty Images

    Commentary

    To Reopen Schools Safely, Prepare for New COVID-19 Test Capabilities

    Safely reopening K–12 schools for in-person instruction requires complicated protocols ranging from symptom monitoring to physical distancing, as well as containment of transmission in the community. State policymakers and school leaders could begin planning now to draft, pilot, and evaluate protocols for reopening schools that incorporate rapid testing.

    Aug 28, 2020

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19: Rethinking the Stockpile: Addendum

    Document submitted August 21, 2020, as an addendum to testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 24, 2020.

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Homeless encampments along Central Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, California, photo by MattGush/Getty Images

    Report

    How Social Service Providers in L.A. County Are Responding to COVID-19

    Social service providers have adapted quickly to ensure continuity of care for their clients during the pandemic. Obstacles have included a lack of technology access among clients, reductions in revenue and workforce, difficulties having clients shelter in place, and other stressors on staff.

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Woman using a phone with a coronavirus tracking app installed, photo by kzenon/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Mobile Health Surveillance Is Here to Stay. How Do We Protect Privacy?

    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.

    Aug 20, 2020

  • The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., photo by lucky-photographer/Getty Images

    Blog

    Summer Reading List for Congress

    During the August recess Hill staff should have an opportunity to step back from the fast pace of votes and hearing preparation to examine priorities for the fall and beyond. This list of must-read research and commentary covers some policy issues they will likely be addressing after the break.

    Aug 18, 2020

  • Digital display showing a map of the United States with areas of COVID-19 and a virus rendering, photo by da-kuk/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Is COVID-19 a National Security Emergency?

    Developing an effective national response to COVID-19 could begin with elevating the pandemic from a public health emergency to a national security crisis. The novel coronavirus may not be a threat that the military can defeat, but that doesn't mean the United States shouldn't set it in its sights and go on the offensive against it.

    Aug 6, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Linking Statistics with Testing Policy to Manage COVID-19 in the Community

    Monitoring the evolution of the pandemic in our society is crucial. This discussion highlights some very important principles of statistical sampling that are relevant to formulating policy.

    Aug 4, 2020

  • Low angle shot of a group of doctors stacking hands in a hospital, photo by Hiraman/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Out of the Ashes: Forging the Post-Pandemic U.S. Health System

    With shifting insights, new problems, and exacerbation of old problems revealed by the pandemic, innovative solutions in the U.S. health system are being adopted where rapid change would normally have been rare. There is both an opportunity and a responsibility to assess how these changes are working and where they can improve health, reduce inequity, and save money.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • Blog

    China in 2050, Using Mobile Tools to Track COVID-19, Telemedicine: RAND Weekly Recap

    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.

    Jul 31, 2020

  • COVID-19 content displayed on a mobile phone, photo by da-kuk/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    COVID-19 Mobile Surveillance Tools Raise Privacy Concerns

    Dozens of countries are using mobile phone tools and data sources for COVID-19 tracking. These tools are beneficial, but they also have the potential for harm. As public health agencies consider using mobile surveillance tools, they will need to address privacy concerns.

    Jul 30, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Data Privacy During Pandemics: A Scorecard Approach for Evaluating the Privacy Implications of COVID-19 Mobile Phone Surveillance Programs

    As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worldwide have deployed mobile phone surveillance programs to augment public health interventions. The authors examine how these programs can be implemented in ways that protect privacy.

    Jul 30, 2020

  • Blog

    Preparing for a COVID Surge, Reducing Police Violence, Media Literacy in Schools: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping hospitals prepare for a surge in COVID-19 infections, an approach to reducing police violence, teachers' concerns about students' media literacy, and more.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Daniel Gerstein

    Multimedia

    Rethinking the Role of the Strategic National Stockpile

    An overview of testimony by Daniel M. Gerstein presented before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on June 24, 2020.

    Jun 29, 2020