2019-nCoV Updates

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), identified in December 2019, has become a major outbreak and has spread to four continents. To address the outbreak and minimize its impact, the international community must work together to manage COVID-19 and use lessons learned from previous pandemics like Ebola, and other coronaviruses like MERS and SARS.

As the 2019-nCoV outbreak and response continues, the O’Neill Institute will send out analysis on outbreak developments and share the viewpoints and thought leadership of our in-house public health experts. These updates will provide information on the status of the outbreak as well as analysis on different interventions to mitigate the disease.

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Authoritarianism, Outbreaks, and Information Politics

Analysis published in The Lancet Public Health examines recent measures to contain and address the virus, under the autocratic government in China. China’s authoritarian government has shown its power in quickly implementing a cordon sanitaire, restricting travel, and building new hospitals to provide care. However, the nature of the state impeded information sharing about the virus, as local health officials have avoided “sharing bad news with their central bosses and await instructions before acting.” The article argues that China’s autocratic political system resulted in missed opportunities to control the outbreak before these massive and untested control efforts were necessary. Without open media and opposition checks and balances on the government, the authoritarian state has struggled to understand the outbreak and to share accurate information with the public.

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US Emergency Legal Responses to Novel Coronavirus: Balancing Public Health and Civil Liberties

On January 31, United States Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar declared a national public health emergency in response to COVID-19, authorizing additional federal powers and resources to address the outbreak. While most public health experts agree that it is best to use the “least-restrictive means necessary to achieve public health objectives”, some recent prevention measures do not follow that principle. Leading health law experts asses the lawfulness of recent actions like suspended flights, travel warnings, home quarantine orders, and a ban on non-U.S. nationals from entering the U.S. if they have visited mainland China recently. Their evaluation provides guidelines for a common legal and ethical standard for public health powers, and underscores the need for evidence-based strategies and interventions.

The Novel Coronavirus Originating in Wuhan, China: Challenges for Global Health Governance

Article in JAMA, published January 30, 2020 on the state of the outbreak. Experts look at different measures from China and around the world, as well as non-pharmaceutical interventions, the role of the WHO, and steps to bring COVID-19 under control. The authors call for a multi-disciplinary committee to develop a global action plan that will include surveillance, contact investigation, testing, and treatment. They also highlight the importance of foster public trust, transparent information sharing, and incentivizing academia and industry to develop medications for the virus.

What Questions Should Global Health Policymakers Be Asking About The Novel Coronavirus?

Published by Health Affairs, February 3, 2020, Lawrence Gostin reviews key issues key questions to consider when planning responses to bring COVID-19 under control. He looks at lessons from past outbreak such as SARS and MERS as well as the implications of the PHEIC declaration from the WHO, public health measures that have been put in place, and what could be the best public health strategy to address to outbreak. Additionally, Gostin looks at the risk for the United States and for other countries, especially looking through globalization and trade.

The WHO held off on declaring the Wuhan coronavirus a global health emergency. Here’s why.

After a two-day meeting, the World Health Organization did not declare the outbreak of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, Mara Pillinger analyzes the politics and the reasons of the decision, and looks at past events when WHO decided to not declare a PHEIC. Additionally, she shares the reactions from the global health community to the decision, especially in regards to the severity of the outbreak.


Experts in Media

February 21, 2019

Why travel restrictions aren’t stopping the coronavirus, National Geographic, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The Ticking Coronavirus Time Bomb: America’s Uninsured, The Daily Beast, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Sharp fall in new Chinese coronavirus cases, but is it only because of new counting method?, South China Morning Post, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 19, 2019

Experts say the cruise ship quarantine was unjustified and violated human rights, letting the coronavirus ‘literally pick them off one by one’, Business Insider, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus and the Geopolitics of Disease, the New Statesman, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 18, 2019

SARS killed hundreds and then disappeared. Could this coronavirus die out?, The Los Angeles Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 17, 2019

Coronavirus cases nearly double in U.S. after charter flights pick up American evacuees, The Washington Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Quarantines, isolation and lockdowns draw mixed reviews: ‘There is no zero risk in the world’, USA Today, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 16, 2019

Did the World Health Organization Totally Fail to Fight the Coronavirus?, Yahoo News. feat. Lawrence Gostin

World Health Organisation division tackling coronavirus underfunded and facing internal corruption allegations, audits reveal, Australian Broadcasting Company, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 14, 2020

Facts Vs. Fears: Five Things To Help Weigh Your Coronavirus Risk, Kaiser Health News, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The Health Carer, Science Magazine, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Is the CDC overreaching with its coronavirus quarantine? These experts think so, The Miami Herald, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 13, 2020

Experts fear China reluctant to accept WHO ground mission, Reuters, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Why the number of novel coronavirus cases just jumped, PBS Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus Case Numbers Jumped Overnight. It’s Because We Changed How We Count Them., BuzzFeed News, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 12, 2020

Death Toll Climbs Past 1,100; at Least 45,000 Infected, CNN, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The World Health Organization Draws Flak for Coronavirus Response, The Wall Street Journal, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 11, 2020

How a dream cruise ended with a novel coronavirus quarantine, PBS Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin

US Health Officials Press China to Accept American Experts to Help with Coronavirus, VOA, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus fears take a toll on local businesses, as global death toll rises, FOX43, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 10, 2020

Can China’s information about the novel coronavirus be trusted?, PBS Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin

China’s coronavirus surpasses death toll from SARS in grim milestone, The Washington Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Mission impossible? WHO director fights to prevent a pandemic without offending China, Science, feat. Lawrence Gostin

China hid the severity of its coronavirus outbreak and muzzled whistleblowers — because it can, Vox, feat. Lawrence Gostin

What employers need to know about the coronavirus, Marketplace, feat. Lawence Gostin (04:42) Audio

February 9, 2020

WHO advance team on coronavirus on way to China – Tedros tweet, Reuters, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 8, 2020

Chinese officials note serious problems in coronavirus response. The World Health Organization keeps praising them., The Washington Post, feat. Lawrence Gostin and Mara Pillinger

Donald Trump makes bizarre comment about Coronavirus; POTUS thinks he knows how to stop it from spreading, EconoTimes, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 7, 2020

How Have We Contained Epidemics Like the Novel Coronavirus in the Past?, VICE, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Is novel coronavirus or flu a bigger threat? Experts answer your questions, PBS Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The U.S. Government Is Quarantining More Than 800 Americans. Here’s Why That Very Rarely Happens, TIME, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 6, 2020

Travel Bans and Quarantines Won’t Stop Coronavirus, WIRED, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Soaring demand for face masks leads to price gouging, empty shelves, The Washington Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The Coronavirus Panic Exposes the Pathology of Nationalism, Truth Dig, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 5, 2020

Is closing borders to Chinese citizens the right move to stop coronavirus?, Australian Broadcasting Company, feat. Lawrence Gostin (02:10) Audio

Managing public health crises like coronavirus, News Decoder, feat. Lawrence Gostin

As The Coronavirus Spreads, Experts Ask Do Quarantines Work?, WBUR, feat. Lawrence Gostin

What happens if the coronavirus outbreak becomes a pandemic?, The Los Angeles Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 4, 2020

China’s Taiwan Quarantine, The Wall Street Journal, feat. Lawrence Gostin.

Coronavirus: could the US government’s quarantine and travel ban backfire?, The Guardian, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Will China’s city lockdowns stop the spread of the coronavirus?, Yahoo News, feat. Lawrence Gostin (02:56) Audio

February 3, 2020

Health Officials Err on Side of Caution to Contain Viral Outbreak, The Wall Street Journal, feat. Lawrence Gostin

U.S. Coronavirus Quarantine And Travel Limits: Needed Protection Or Overreaction?, NPR, feat. Lawrence Gostin (02:57) Audio

U.S. Officials Promise ‘Aggressive Measures’ to Contain Coronavirus, The New York Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

News Brief: Iowa Caucuses, Impeachment Trial, Coronavirus, WVTF, feat. Lawrence Gostin (06:58) Audio

U.S. Coronavirus Quarantine And Travel Limits: Needed Protection Or Overreaction?, WCLK, feat. Lawrence Gostin

February 1, 2020

Coronavirus outbreak: Travel restrictions enacted by Trump administration, Chicago Chinese New Year event canceled; 7th case confirmed in California, ABC Chicago, feat. Lawrence Gostin

How Bad Will the Coronavirus Outbreak Get? Here Are 6 Key Factors, The New York Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 31, 2020

Wary of irking China, Trump offers rosy take on virus threat, Associated Press, feat. Lawrence Gostin

WHO declares novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency, Australian Broadcasting Company, feat. Matthew Kavanagh (2:02) Audio

Declaring coronavirus emergency alone is not enough, experts say, Devex, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The slow race to make coronavirus vaccine is on as nations try to speed yearlong process, CNBC, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The Trump Administration Just Declared Coronavirus A Public Health Emergency In The US, Buzzfeed News, feat. Lawrence Gostin

US bars foreigners coming from China for now over virus fear, Associated Press, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 30, 2020

Novel coronavirus is a global public health emergency, WHO declares, PBS Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Trump seems atypically calm about the coronavirus epidemic. Aides say he doesn’t want to anger China., The Week, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The Coronavirus Quarantines, From Bizarre to Heartbreaking, Slate, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 29, 2020

Donald Trump Is Not a Doctor. But He Plays One on Twitter., Politico, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus: Five burning questions scientists want to answer about the outbreak, The Los Angeles Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus deaths climb to 106 as WHO chief heads to Beijing, Australian Broadcasting Company, feat. Lawrence Gostin (00:28) Audio

China Coronavirus Outbreak, Voice of America, feat. Lawrence Gostin (20:57) Video

Suspected U.S. cases of novel coronavirus rise, CDC says, PBS Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Column: Beware the pandemic panic, Baltimore Sun, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 28, 2020

Is the World Prepared for the Next Pandemic?, The Takeaway, feat. Matthew Kavanagh (3:47) Audio

Could China’s massive coronavirus quarantine backfire?, The Hill, feat. Lawrence Gostin (Video)

Based On Trump’s Past Responses To Pandemics, Experts Worry About A Harmful Overreaction From President, Kaiser Health News, feat. Lawrence Gostin

WHO weighs science and politics in global virus emergency decision, Reuters, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Forbidden City and Parts of Great Wall Close Temporarily in China to Limit Spread of Coronavirus, Smithsonian Magazine, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus: China has quarantined 50 million people. Experts worry that might backfire, The Los Angeles Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

As coronavirus spreads, Biden says Trump is ‘the worst possible person’ to keep America safe, Yahoo News, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The coronavirus gives Trump his biggest outbreak emergency yet — and experts are worried, STAT, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 27, 2020

No One Really Knows How Many People Are Infected With Coronavirus, Vice, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Coronavirus: Is coronavirus a pandemic? What are pandemic criteria?, Express UK, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 26, 2020

China’s unprecedented quarantines could have wider consequences, experts say, CNN, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The WHO held off on declaring the Wuhan coronavirus a global health emergency. Here’s why., Monkey Cage, by Mara Pillinger

As Coronavirus Fears Intensify, Effectiveness of Quarantines Is Questioned, The New York Times, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 25, 2020

A Travel Ban To Contain The Coronavirus Could Worsen Conditions In Wuhan, WFAE, feat. Lawrence Gostin (02:10) Audio

January 24, 2020

China Halts Transportation Out Of Wuhan To Contain Coronavirus. Could It Backfire?, KUOW NPR, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Millions in lockdown over fears of coronavirus, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, feat. Lawrence Gostin (03:20) Audio

Unprecedented Chinese quarantine could backfire, experts say, The Washington Post, feat. Lawrence Gostin

China virus death toll rises to 41, more than 1,300 infected worldwide, CNBC, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 23, 2020

Coronavirus: WHO decides not to declare global health emergency, BBC Newshour, feat. Lawrence Gostin (21:14)

China coronavirus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm, CNBC, feat. Lawrence Gostin

WHO postpones decision on declaring China coronavirus a global health emergency, CNBC, feat. Lawrence Gostin

WHO: The coronavirus outbreak is not yet a global emergency, Axios, feat. Lawrence Gostin

The Coronavirus Outbreak Appears To Be Contained In China, Global Health Officials Said, Buzzfeed News, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Would the Coronavirus Quarantine of Wuhan Even Work?, Wired, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Would the Coronavirus Quarantine of Wuhan Even Paintings?, Gizmo Chronicle, feat. Lawrence Gostin

January 22, 2020

Virus continues to spread from central China, Radio Melbourne, feat. Lawrence Gostin (03:10) Audio

As Virus Spreads, Isolated Taiwan Risks Being a Loophole in War on Epidemics, The Wall Street Journal, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Pandemic Fears Grow as China Steps Up Efforts to Control New Flu-Like Coronavirus, Insurance Journal, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Mexico and Colombia may have their first coronavirus cases as the contagious illness that has killed 17 spreads from China to at least 531 people around the world, The Daily Mail, feat. Lawrence Gostin

Media Inquiries

For all media inquiries or to schedule an interview please contact:

Johan Marulanda, jm3245@georgetown.edu,  Communications Associate


Official 2019-nCoV Status Reports: