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Precision Public Health as a Key Tool in the COVID-19 Response

Educational Objective
To understand the key role precision public health is playing in the COVID-19 response
1 Credit CME

With more than 20 million cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) globally and now exceeding 5 million cases in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic represents one of the greatest public health challenges in more than a century. To succeed against COVID-19, multiple public health tools and interventions will be needed to minimize morbidity and mortality related to COVID-19. Although extreme public health interventions, for example, lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates, were initially critical to flattening the curve, many fundamental questions remain, such as when can employees deemed nonessential return to work, how can children safely return to school, and who should be first to receive a vaccine once it becomes available. Information about who is at highest risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death based on age, sex, race/ethnicity, and underlying conditions is now becoming available.1 In addition, the relationship between neighborhood factors (eg, increased neighborhood household crowding rate) and risks for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and COVID-19 disease outcomes are now recognized.2

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS, University of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Rd, PO Box 100296, Gainesville, FL 32610 (sonja.rasmussen@peds.ufl.edu).

Published Online: August 12, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.14992

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr del Rio reported receiving grants from the Emory Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit outside the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.

References
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2.
Emeruwa  UN , Ona  S , Shaman  JL ,  et al.  Associations between built environment, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and SARS-CoV-2 infection among pregnant women in New York City.   JAMA. Published online June 18, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11370 PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Khoury  MJ , Engelgau  M , Chambers  DA , Mensah  GA .  Beyond public health genomics: can big data and predictive analytics deliver precision public health?   Public Health Genomics. 2018;21(5-6):244-250. doi:10.1159/000501465 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Oude Munnink  BB , Nieuwenhuijse  DF , Stein  M ,  et al; Dutch-Covid-19 response team.  Rapid SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing and analysis for informed public health decision-making in the Netherlands.   Nat Med. Published online July 16, 2020. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-0997-y PubMedGoogle Scholar
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