Investments In Shared Surveillance Systems, Urban Infrastructure Integral To Managing Risks From Emerging Infectious Diseases, Experts Say

AJC: Opinion: Smart Cities can help fight against infectious diseases
James H. Spencer, associate dean and professor of city and regional planning at Clemson University; Catherine L. Ross, regents’ professor and Harry West professor of city and regional planning and civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech; and Sumeet Saksena, senior fellow at the East West Center

“Rapid and global urban transitions have led to the rise of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs), like Coronavirus, Avian Flu, MERS, SARS, and Ebola. … Urban megaregions are the nodes through which these pathogens arrive in the United States. … When one node on this network comes under threat from a zoonotic EID arising in a city undergoing a rapid urban transition, the whole system goes on high alert. Because this is a system, we need to ensure each of its nodes has the capacity to manage these biological threats without shutting the system down. … Thus, even more so than shared surveillance systems, compatible social and urban infrastructure are needed to manage EID risks credibly. … If we don’t make these kinds of investments, we will surely face another EID crisis in the near future with even greater reluctance of local communities to report the first signs of infection” (2/17).