New Book: Tracking Disease Outbreaks

Mar 5, 2020

Just as the news began to come out about a new coronavirus, a Virginia Tech Statistics professor was putting the final touches on a new book he co-authored about tracking disease outbreaks just like this one.


The book is called “Monitoring the Health of Populations by Tracking Disease Outbreaks: Saving Humanity from the Next Plague." 

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Credit CDC

“We actually stopped press of the book because it was literally going to press just as the Wuhan outbreak was starting,”  Ron Fricker said.  They added what information they had about the virus.

Now, Fricker is in Switzerland, teaching classes at Virginia Tech’s presidential global scholars’ campus there.   “Just in the week I've been here, things have changed pretty dramatically,” he noted.

Fricker points out his perspective is that of a statistician, not a medical professional.   “I'm watching it from maybe the unique perspective of having worked on a book, but I'm still somewhat cautiously hopeful that we haven't quite entered a pandemic period. That in fact we still have a small window to sort of control the coronavirus."

Click here for more COVID-19 information from the Virginia Department of Health

Fricker says the Swiss government is doing quite a good job dealing with COVID-19.  “They have been very proactive, very organized about their response as of today. They have been really well organized at tracking those cases down, quarantining them, putting measures in place in society to try to mitigate the spread.”

(A live map of coronavirus cases from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering)

As of our most recent update, there has been one death from COVID-19 in Switzerland.

***Editor's Note: Radio IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.