Johns Hopkins Battles COVID-19

2020-11-19

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS) recently received a donation from CCP Games, representing donations from EVE Online players. This donation, recently reported by INN, was welcomed by Johns Hopkins and helps to promote their work in COVID-19 research and prevention. The CHS is a part of the Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, a private university known for its excellence in medicine and research. For you gamers in EVE Online, here are some things your donations helped to support.

Supporting the Effort

Financial contributions, like the one CCP Games made to Johns Hopkins, are particularly welcomed at this time. Anita Cicero, Deputy Director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins, noted that before the COVID crisis, much of the funding for the CHS came from specific grants, which in turn targeted specific projects. When COVID became an international pandemic, donations became “extremely important,” Cicero said. 

When COVID first appeared, and was recognized to be a particular threat to world health and even to national security, things at CHS changed.  “It became sort of all hands on deck,” Cicero noted. Further, the pandemic has become an extended crisis, lasting much longer than some health crises that tend to flash up quickly and burn out rapidly. Therefore, the CHS has required a great deal of ongoing resources.  Fortunately, it has received “some gifts out of the blue.” These donations have assisted CHS in getting vital information about COVID research and prevention distributed to the public, through newsletters, webinars, and other media outlets.  

Regarding CCP’s particular donation, that came from online gamers, Cicero said, “I am surprised, but delighted.  This is a donation we never tried to market for. We are really delighted that our work is ‘consumed’ by [gamers] and they care about these issues.” 

Johns Hopkins CHS

Cicero discussed the work that CHS has done with COVID. People at the center started taking note of the potential for an outbreak last January, when cases began to appear that “seemed like unexplained pneumonia,” but turned out to be more like SARS or MERS. Eventually, the disease was identified and designated as COVID-19. CHS then set up a monitoring system, particularly noting what measures countries were enacting to prevent the spread of the disease, such as “non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as shutdowns, travel restrictions, and so on.”  The Center continued to track that data and began providing advice for groups needing assistance in responding to COVID-19, noting that Johns Hopkins filled a role that is often filled by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

The Johns Hopkins CHS was established about 20 years ago by Donald. A. Henderson. Henderson, a renowned physician and researcher, was instrumental in the elimination of smallpox. Before helping to found the CHS, Henderson worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) and also the CDC. He was particularly concerned about naturally occurring health threats, as well as human-created problems, such as deliberate bioterrorism attacks.  He saw the national security implications of naturally-occurring outbreaks as well as bioterrorism threats.  

Currently the CHS brings together multiple communities (medical, governmental, political, social)  to work together holistically.  The center has 35 people, multi-disciplinary experts, who view communicable diseases like COVID from many vantage points: the economic, the anthropological, the immunological, and so on. They think about issues of health and security and assist groups in understanding the implications for research and prevention. The Center, for example, published a recent study on “COVID-19 and the US Criminal Justice System: Evidence for Public Health Measures to Reduce Risk.” For more on COVID from the CHS, please visit their website.

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