By now, everyone is aware of what Coronavirus is and what precautionary measures to take to protect yourself. Fighting the Coronavirus doesn't come with a playbook.

"What we have is a really complex system of science going on at multiple levels and it just takes time to collect the data, synthesize it, to look across time and space and understand on a population level what the best actions are," Lauren Clay said, from the Public Health Department at Dyouville.

Some of the work being done behind the curtain comes from epidemiologists. The scientists study of incidence, distribution and possible control of diseases or basically, where diseases come from, how they are spread and what to do to stop them.

"So there are people who focus on chronic diseases, people who focus on infectious diseases like Coronavirus and people like me who focus on disasters or disaster epidemiology,” Clay said.

A big role that an epidemiologist plays in solving solutions to cases like COVID-19 is "outbreak investigations." By conducting interviews with people who have become sick, they are able to use methods like "contact tracing" to see what that person was in contact with.

"Every day, your local health department is doing surveillance for a number of contagious diseases and monitoring how that's changing over time and it gives them an early warning to say oh, we might have an outbreak forming we might want to put some policies in place," Clay added.

By using social and behavioral data, Clay says she is able to monitor human behaviors, and identify risk factors for various outcomes. In the effort to find more information about COVID-19, Clay says right now her research sits in multiple studies.

One of those is in Erie County.

"Community survey that's trying to understand the experience of households with this level of disruption, and really understand things like physical and mental health impacts, child care, financial disruption and food security issues."

Clay says for a scientist to be able to solve the case behind a mystery like the Coronavirus it's important for people to follow protective actions that are recommended.

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