For many around the world, the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, in January came as a surprise. For experts on pandemic preparedness and global health security, it did not: SARS-CoV-2 is ‘disease X’, the long-feared, fast-spreading, deadly disease they knew would one day arrive.

The Harvard Global Health Institute has prepared for this historic moment through research, engagement with policy makers and the public, and education. Read below for more information about our current Coronavirus Response effort, and use the tabs above to learn more about our pandemics portfolio overall, including improvements our work brought to the World Health Organization after the failures during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa; and Outbreak Week, a weeklong exploration of what we can learn from the 1917-18 flu pandemic.

HGHI’s Coronavirus Response

Our COVID-19 efforts focuses on three areas of engagement: Key public health context, analysis and policy recommendations for decision makers; timely, evidence-based communication to the public; as well as research and building new coalitions to combat health misinformation. Our work includes bringing together leading experts to agree on key measures for COVID-19 suppression, the creation of the COVID Risk Levels Map, and a framework to understanding how much testing and tracing the nation needs and how we can get there. Our media collaborations include work with National Public Radio, ProPublica, The New York Times and StatNews. 

Details at 


Confronting COVID-19: Science, History, Policy

Co-led by HGHI Assistant Director Ingrid Katz, this Harvard Gen Ed course will assess essential characteristics of contemporary scientific knowledge, medical practices, as well as deeper social structure and inequalities, policymaking, and values and ethics related to COVID-19.



How Well Do Mitigation Measures Work?

From state of emergency declarations to stay at home orders, how do different social distancing policies affect people’s movement on a granular level? By examining traffic to grocery stores, parks, pharmacies and other major location categories using anonymized, aggregated data from Google users, our team investigated the effectiveness of various government interventions in the U.S. in March. 



The Path to Zero: A Policy Framework

Harvard Global Health Institute, Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Rockefeller Foundation, CovidActNow, Covid-Local, CIDRAP and many others join forces, launch new COVID Risk Level map and COVID suppression guidance for policy makers and the public.