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The U.S. CDC headquarters, in Atlanta, Ga., on Sept. 30, 2014.Tami Chappell/Reuters

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday it is creating a new disease forecasting center to improve the ability to use data to predict and gauge emerging health threats.

The Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will help in sharing information in real time to activate governmental, private sector, and public actions in anticipation of threats both domestically and abroad, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

The CDC’s move comes at a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, which upended lives and prompted governments to take unprecedented measures to try to stop its spread.

Almost 4,560,000 people have died globally from the COVID-19 disease related to the coronavirus, and some 208,832,000 people have been infected, as per the latest Reuters tally.

A new leadership team has been charged with the development and implementation of a plan to establish the center including Dr. Marc Lipsitch, who will serve as director for science. Lipsitch is an epidemiologist working at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Dylan George will serve as director for operations and Dr. Caitlin Rivers will be its associate director. Dr. Rebecca Kahn will be the center’s senior scientist.

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