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cover image depicting a bridge and the Berkeley Public Health logo Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic is a Course

Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic



Full course description


The course will provide you with a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the pandemic. We have gathered faculty with a wide range of expertise to deliver over 20 lectures addressing essential topics relevant to the prevention and control of this deadly infectious disease that has affected the entire globe. The course starts with an introduction to the history of global pandemics and lessons learned, and then moves on to the biology, epidemiology, diagnostics, and basic concepts in modeling the spread of the virus. The course then shifts to cover prevention and control strategies, including the populations most at risk during this pandemic and the systemic causes of these disparate impacts. Finally, we cover how organizations and individuals are coping, and look at the range of potential health and economic impacts of this pandemic that depend on our global and local responses. The course is followed by a short exam where we allow you to test your knowledge and deepen your learning. Thank you again for your interest in the course. We hope that this course helps you better understand the pandemic and what you can do to respond to it.


Options for the course

This course covers a diverse set of themes relevant to the coronavirus pandemic. We encourage you to review the modules that are of most interest to you (see course Syllabus). To receive a "certificate of completion", please watch all of the presentations and take the quiz after each lecture. As a final step, complete the end of course quiz and print your certificate, and voilà!


Course Outline

  1. Introduction to the course - Dr. Amani Allen

    • Why this course, and what we hope you learn

2a. The history of global pandemics and what we can learn - Part A - Dr. Elena Conis

    • Major pandemics that have occurred that are most relevant to the on-going coronavirus pandemic

2b. The history of global pandemics and what we can learn - Part B - Dr. Elena Conis

    • Past pandemics

    • Lessons learned from past pandemics

3. What is SARS-CoV-2  - Dr. Lee Riley

    • The biology of the coronavirus

    • Methods for detection/testing

    • The relationship of SARS-CoV-2 to other viruses

    • Infection and disease 

    • The infectious dose

4. Mechanisms for spread part I: Aerosols - Dr. Mark Nicas

    • Particle sizes that are emitted from sick individuals

    • How long do infectious aerosols remain in the air?

    • Evidence about the effectiveness of masks to prevent the spread

5. Mechanisms for spread part II - Reservoirs of the coronavirus - Dr. Jay Graham

    • Species known to be reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2

    • Survival of the virus on surfaces

    • The environmental factors that influence survival

    • Fomites/surfaces that present the greatest risk of exposure

    • The use of sewage for surveillance

6. COVID-19: Pathophysiology and therapeutics - Dr. Eva Harris and Dr. Sandra Bos

    • Physiopathology: Disease pathogenesis

    • Therapeutics: Antiviral drugs, convalescent plasma, IL-6 inhibitors

7. Laboratory diagnostics for SARS-Cov-2 - Dr. Peter J. Dailey

    • Laboratory tests are a part of diagnosis

    • Use the right tool for the job – the two types of tests

    • Diagnostic test accuracy: “Sensitivity” and “Specificity”

    • Diagnostic test utility: “Positive predictive value” (PPV), “Negative Predictive Value” (NPV) and the impact of disease Prevalence

    • Regulation and performance evaluation

    • Current challenges and the future

8. The global spread of SARS-Cov-2 - Dr. Art Reingold

    • How it originated

    • What have countries done in response

    • How has it spread in different countries

    • What factors seem to influence its spread

    • Describe asymptomatic carriage and why it matters to the spread

9. The basics of how modeling infectious diseases works - Dr. John Marshall

    • Why use models?

    • The basic reproductive number & herd immunity threshold

    • Deterministic, stochastic and individual-based models

10. What does modeling tell us about SARS-Cov-2?  - Chris Hoover, Doctoral Candidate

    • What modeling has been conducted for SARS-CoV-2

    • What do the different models tell us

    • What are the assumptions of the models

    • How does one determine the validity of these models

11. Managing a pandemic - Dr. Art Reingold

    • How are pandemics defined

    • What happens at the international level when a pandemic occurs

    • Who is in charge of the global response and how is the responsibility distributed

      1. WHO; CDC; Ministries of Health; State health departments; City health departments; County health departments

    • What socio-political factors determine if a response will be effective

12. China and South Korea’s experience with COVID-19 - Dr. Fenyong Liu

    • A case study of China

    • A case study of South Korea

    • Lessons learned

13. Impacts on healthcare systems - Dr. John Balmes

    • Different levels of disease severity

    • Impacts to hospitals

    • Impacts to the health care system

    • Impacts to health care workers 

    • Efforts to protect health care workers

    • Major issues that health care systems in the U.S. faced with the coronavirus

14. The impacts of the pandemic on other aspects of health – Prof. Kirk R. Smith

    • Changes in air pollution exposures due to the response to this pandemic

    • Vulnerability to COVID-19 caused by air pollution exposure

    • Impact on health of previous economic disruptions

15. US racial disparities during COVID-19 – Dr. Corinne Riddell

    • Quantify the differences in COVID-19 deaths by race/ethnicity

    • Become familiar with chains of causation that lead to racial and ethnic differences in exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and deaths from COVID-19

    • List issues in data collection and how these issues affect the pandemic response

    • Describe relationships between socio-economic factors and COVID-19 mortality 

16. Proven interventions and what we know works – Dr. Sandi McCoy

    • Understand the main interventions being promoted

    • Discuss how the  interventions align with the best evidence

      1. Travel bans, maintaining 6 ft of distance, masks, etc.

    • Explore interventions are being tried in different countries

    • Understand the effects that have been measured from interventions

17. Workers Health is Public Health: COVID-19 at Work – Dr. Carisa Harris Adamson & Dr. Ellen Eisen

  1. Explore why worker health is a critical component of public health

  2. Investigate COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace

  3. Discuss the role of OSHA and Cal/OSHA

  4. Be familiar with employer guidelines for developing an Infectious Disease Preparedness & response Plan

  5. Explore the potential impact of COVID-19 on the future of work

18. SARS-CoV-2 immunity and vaccine development - Dr. Eva Harris & Dr. Sandra Bos

    • Introduction to adaptive immunity, antibody kinetics and correlates of protection

    • Key questions regarding SARS-CoV-2 immunity

    • SARS-CoV-2 antibody response

    • Antibody cross-reactivity among human coronaviruses

    • Does SARS-CoV-2 immunopathogenesis exist ?

    • Approaches to viral vaccine development and timeline

    • SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development pipeline & examples

19. US FDA and Public Health Emergencies  - Dr. Veronica Miller

20. Mental health issues related to pandemics - Dr. Emily Ozer

    • How do pandemics affect mental health?

    • What should we expect to see in terms of mental health issues?

    • How can we create opportunities to exercise control and agency to help modulate stress in response to this massive stressor?

    • What are the key developmental issues for mental health - e.g. youth in terms of having their freedom restricted in ways that are developmentally challenging, children whose mental health impacts will likely be mediated by parents mental health. Impact of school closures on youth and potential responses to that - where are the opportunities for children and youth to exercise control?

    • Differential effects on mental health - grief and traumatic loss for some, without access to religious and cultural traditions for coping with loss.

    • Psychological research about why people might take health messaging seriously; how do we change cultural and social norms to prevent exposure?

21a.  How do pandemics affect social and economic determinants of health - Part A -  Dr. Will Dow

    • How pandemics affect social and economic determinants of health 

    • Understand how this pandemic is affecting the economy (so far)

    • Become familiar with how recessions affect public health 

21b. How do pandemics affect social and economic determinants of health - Part B -  Dr. Will Dow

    • Explore the best responses for reducing the impact of the economic downturn

    • What should we expect during the recovery period?

22. Closing remarks to the course  - Dr. Michael Lu


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