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. 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. You can also access full recordings of a new Harvard undergraduate course, ‘Confronting COVID: Science, History, Policy,’ led by HGHI leadership in Fall 2020.


Confronting COVID-19: Science, History, Policy

Co-led by HGHI Assistant Director Ingrid Katz, this Harvard Gen Ed course assessed 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 2021.



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 joined forces to launch a COVID Risk Level map and COVID suppression guidance for policy makers and the public.