Surveillance and The “New Normal” Of COVID-19: Public Health, Data, and Justice

This report provides information on the surveillance of COVID-19 and the ethical and legal considerations necessary for its effective implementation. Details are also provided on the protection of privileged and health data, as well as on the increase of public health capacity for future emergency preparedness.

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Disease Tracking and Surveillance

Disease surveillance helps us detect disease cases, understand burden of disease and risk factors, provide the basis for timely and informed decision-making, guide control measures, and monitor impacts. Since the onset of COVID-19, surveillance efforts have worked to provide real-time tracking and forecast data, despite challenges with diagnostic capacity, case reporting, insufficient contact tracing, and fragmented data systems. COVID-19 has highlighted the need to invest in modern data systems, expand and skill up the workforce, and ensure data reporting and interpretation retain high ethical and epidemiological standards.