Health

Mission Control For The CDC’s COVID-19 Response Is Right Here In Atlanta

Ed Rouse, Senior Advisor, Division of Emergency Operations at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stand in the agency's Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta.
Ed Rouse, Senior Advisor, Division of Emergency Operations at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stand in the agency's Emergency Operations Center in Atlanta.
Credit Sam Whitehead / WABE

COVID-19, the pneumonia-like disease caused by the new coronavirus, has killed more than 1,300 people and sickened more than 60,000 others since it first showed up in China late last year.

Public health agencies from around the globe have jumped into action to try to stop the spread of the previously unknown virus.

The U.S. response is being led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. And the nerve-center of that effort is its Emergency Operations Center or EOC.

Rows and rows of workstations are filled with public health workers tapping away at their keyboards and answering phone calls. One wall is made entirely of screens that display real-time information about the outbreak.

This is a little bit like an emergency room,” said Dr. Jay Butler,  deputy director for Infectious Diseases at the agency. “Maybe we can consider this the ER of public health. Even though at any given moment it may be quiet, there’s times when it’s quite hectic.”

WABE health reporter Sam Whitehead got a look inside the EOC and stopped by “All Things Considered” with Jim Burress to share what he found.

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