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CoVID 19 UPDATE: Understanding the Spread and Threat of the Novel Coronavirus

February 27, 2020

Episode Notes:

About a month ago, we spoke with Dr. Erin Sorrell, an expert in biohazardous threat and infectious disease about what was then a developing story:  a novel type of coronavirus that was emerging from the Wuhan region of China.  The intervening month has seen the virus named — CoVID 19 — and seen its substantial spread.  When this episode was recorded on Feb. 26, there were over 2,700 deaths and over 81,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and new clusters of the virus were identified in Italy, Iran, and South Korea.

In order to better understand the development of this disease, as well as the economic and security implications, we are once again joined by Dr. Sorrell of the Center for Global Health and Security at Georgetown University.  She is an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology and co-directs the Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases MSc program. Previously, she served as a senior analyst at the Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction’s Biosecurity Engagement Program.  Her research has included looking in to avian to human transmission influenza viruses.

[ 01:58 ] Are there any aspects to the virus that pose a unique public health threat?

[ 02:57 ] At what point does a public health crisis threaten a government’s security and stability?

[ 04:24 ] We’ve seen new clusters reported in Iran, South Korea, Italy: What do we know about the likely transmission mechanism and the importance of these cases?

[ 07:57 ] How do you respond to the prediction by a Harvard epidemiologist that 40%-70% of global population may contract the disease and we may see a CoVID “season” much like flu season?

[ 10:09 ] There are multiple theories about origin of the virus — how do you assess them?

[ 11:03 ] What are the appropriate public health measures —institutional (travel, public events, etc) and individual (hand washing, etc) in light of CoVID 19?


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