Coronavirus Response

Providing Expertise

Building on HGHI’s multidisciplinary nature and collaborations across many of Harvard’s schools, we provide models and analysis on key questions to decision makers, including governors, members of congress, and business leaders. Recent projects include:

  • A Risk Level Map that provides policy makers, businesses and the public with a better understanding of their COVID-19 risk on the state and county level (US) and country level (worldwide) and accompanying guidance on mitigation measures and personal actions to stay safe
  • A comprehensive framework of strategies for the Path to Zero infections, including a Policy Framework, Key Metrics, and a Technical Advice Handbook 
  • A methodology to assess testing needs and targets for U.S. states and other nations (where infection projection data and case counts are available), for both a mitigation and a suppression goal 
  • A unique model on hospital capacity across 305 hospital referral regions in the U.S. that provided crucial guidance for states and local decision makers early on, and due to its interactive online presentation continues to serve as a guide for decision makers 
  • An eight-part webinar series (DASH Webinars) on the role of AI in the COVID-19 response in low-resource settings, featuring panelists from WHO, Partners in Health, Facebook Data for Good, Harvard, MIT, and more.

Communicating Critical Information

To model outbreak communications best practices, HGHI has become a major voice of clear, evidence-based, transparent information in the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • We collaborate with major US newsrooms at NPR, New York Times, ProPublica, STAT and other media organizations to share and contextualize alarming but essential numbers in effective, responsible ways. 
  • We launched as an online resource to provide key insights, study reviews, interactive ways to engage with data, and the latest from our team, as a backbone to all our work with media and policy makers. Since the launch of the Covid Risk Levels Map, has become a major go-to site for people seeking information about the coronavirus response. 
  • We publish articles in mainstream publications such as The Boston Globe, Time, Forbes, JAMA and Health Affairs 
  • Our experts frequently appear on the BBC, CNN, Fox News, Aljazeera, local news shows and many other stations, and are quoted widely in newspapers and online outlets in the U.S. and around the world (click here for a full list of our media hits.) 

COVID-19 Research 

Naturally, while we support and are part of the public health response to the pandemic, we are driving forward research on various aspects, from understanding the role healthcare quality plays in patient outcomes to using social mobility data to study the efficacy of mitigation efforts. 

Social Mobility Data

Lockdowns, curfews and other social distancing policies aimed at curtailing human movement are a primary strategy to reduce the frequency of close contact with others and in turn minimize the transmission of COVID-19.  To date, however, there is mixed research on how well social distancing policies are working to curb the spread of the disease and what factors make them effective. 

Given the reliance on social distancing policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the US and globally there is an urgent need to systematically quantify the impact of these policies and use this data to guide efforts aimed at mitigating COVID-19. Towards this end, we have undertaken a portfolio of research using anonymized data from cellphone users across the US and other countries aggregated through Google’s Community Mobility Reports. 

This work allows for an evidence-based understanding of the effectiveness of social distancing measures. Currently, this information is being used to guide local, state, and national policy decision making on the extent to which social distancing measures can be relaxed, how stringently social distancing should be enforced and if social distancing must be reinstated at times of heightened risk.