Lessons learned from pandemic successes and failures: a conversation Feb. 20

“The next pandemic could be just around the corner,” says the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the world is “dangerously unprepared.” On Feb. 20, David Shmoys of Cornell and Jay Bhattacharyas of Stanford will discuss what we’ve learned, and can apply, about the successes and failures of the policy responses to Covid‑19 in “The pandemic: What we got right, what we got wrong, what next.”

Their discussion will take place Monday, Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 198 of Statler Hall on the Cornell’s Ithaca campus. The event is free and open to the public, and will also be streamed; to participate online, register here.

Shmoys helped design the testing and reporting protocols that were a critical element of Cornell’s response to the pandemic. He is the Laibe/Acheson Professor of Business Management and Leadership Studies in the College of Engineering and Director of Cornell’s Center for Data Science for Enterprise & Society.

Bhattacharya, director of the Stanford Center on the Demography of Health and Aging, was an early and prominent critic of governmental policies that imposed widespread lock‑downs, advocating instead protections focused on the populations most at risk.

“Jay Bhattacharya showed considerable courage as an early critic of large-scale government policies that, among other things, left nursing home residents dangerously vulnerable,” said Barry Strauss, who will moderate the discussion. “David Shmoys was instrumental in developing effective local policies for Cornell's response to Covid, which has become nationally famous.

“We have a lot to learn from both of them,” added Strauss, the Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor in Humanistic Studies in the Departments of History and Classics and Director of the Program on Freedom and Free Societies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

With a Ph.D. in computer science from Berkeley, Shmoys specializes in the design of efficient algorithms for problems including decision-making, scheduling, and computational biology.

Bhattacharya holds both a Ph.D. in economics and an M.D. from Stanford. His research focuses on the economics of health care around the world with a particular emphasis on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

This event is sponsored by Cornell's Program on Freedom and Free Societies and co-sponsored by the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, with thanks to the generous support of Michael J. Millette ’87 and the Millette family as well as that of the Triad Foundation and other donors.

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		Person waits for a COVID test while people wearing medical gear hurry by