They’re Harnessing the Power of Big Data to Track COVID-19 and Other Diseases

Around this time last year, Samuel Scarpino, an assistant professor in Northeastern’s Network Science Institute, received a call from a senior producer at VICE News. VICE’s reporters had failed to get any useful data about COVID-19 cases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Could he help?

“Welcome to public health,” Scarpino told the producer sarcastically.

One of the biggest issues with public health responses, particularly when it comes to infectious disease outbreaks, is a lack of detailed, accessible, and usable data, says Scarpino, who has dedicated his career to improving access to public health information.

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Marine and Environmental Sciences