CDC activities and initiatives supporting the COVID-19 response and the President’s plan for opening America up again : May 2020
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CDC activities and initiatives supporting the COVID-19 response and the President’s plan for opening America up again : May 2020

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      This document briefly summarizes CDC’s initiatives, activities, and tools in support of the Whole-of-Government response to COVID-19.

      The principal objectives of COVID-19 surveillance are to monitor the spread and intensity of the pandemic, to enable contact tracing to slow transmission, and to identify disease clusters requiring special intervention. Secondary objectives include understanding the severity and spectrum of disease, identifying risk factors for and methods of preventing infection, and producing data essential for forecasting. In addition to tracking the disease itself, monitoring of healthcare capacity and essential supplies through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) is critical to ensure adequacy of care.

      Because no single system can capture all parameters of the pandemic, CDC has implemented multiple, complementary surveillance systems (Appendix A). Key systems are case-based reporting through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), laboratory-based surveillance, syndromic-surveillance data reported through the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP), and data on healthcare system capacity reported through the NHSN (Appendix B). Additional systems, such as COVID-Net, provide rich, publicly available information for meeting secondary objectives. CDC continues to explore emerging and experimental surveillance platforms with a critical eye toward proven utility.

      Control of the epidemic requires action at the individual, community, and population levels. CDC has provided state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments with extensive detailed guidance on contact tracing, infection control, and a wide range of other prevention and control topics. Recent models suggest that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission and delays in case recognition can greatly reduce the effectiveness of contact tracing. To enhance the speed and thus effectiveness of contact tracing, CDC is exploring technologic methods for instantaneous voluntary notification of contacts of confirmed cases.

      At the community level, recent events have shown the devastating effects that outbreaks can have among vulnerable populations, especially those in congregate settings such as nursing homes, prisons, and homeless shelters. Similarly, outbreaks in food production plants and other critical industries are crippling communities financially and threatening national food security. Rapid identification and response to these events is a CDC priority that can mitigate the immediate impact and provide critical insights needed to prevent future outbreaks in similar settings. CDC has developed extensive tools to assist states, counties, facilities, and industries in responding to and preventing these events (Appendix C).

      Widespread community mitigation combined with ongoing containment activities represents both an effective intervention for limiting the spread of COVID-19 and a serious threat to the economic well-being of the country and the world.

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    • Content Notes:
      CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again -- Appendix A: Surveillance for COVID-19 -- Appendix B: Healthcare System Surveillance -- Appendix C: Guidance on Infection Control and Contact Tracing -- Appendix D: Guidance on Test Usage (Asymptomatic Populations and Serology).
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