School of Science Technology and Health

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The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has elicited an abrupt pause in the United States in multiple sectors of commerce and social activity. As the US faces this health crisis, the magnitude, and rigor of their initial public health response was unprecedented. As a response, the entire nation shutdown at the state-level for the duration of approximately one to three months. These public health interventions, however, were not arbitrarily decided, but rather, implemented as a result of evidence-based practices. These practices were a result of lessons learned during the 1918 influenza pandemic and the city-level non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) taken across the US. During the 1918 pandemic, two model cities, St. Louis, MO, and Philadelphia, PA, carried out two different approaches to address the spreading disease, which resulted in two distinctly different outcomes. Our group has evaluated the state-level public health response adopted by states across the US, with a focus on New York, California, Florida, and Texas, and compared the effectiveness of reducing the spread of COVID-19. Our assessments show that while the states mentioned above benefited from the implementations of early preventative measures, they inadequately replicated the desired outcomes observed in St. Louis during the 1918 crisis. Our study indicates that there are other factors, including health disparities that may influence the effectiveness of public health interventions applied. Identifying more specific health determinants may help implement targeted interventions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 and improving health equity.


Coronavirus; Spread, Intervention, Prevention, Outcomes, Evidence-based practice, Health Disparities, Influenza virus

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the authors


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article submitted/accepted for publication in Frontiers in Public Health following peer review. The original paper was submitted for publication in 2020.



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