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Latest Update on COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

On January 21, 2020, CDC activated the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support the response to the current Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On March 11, WHO publicly characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. Cases have been detected in most countries worldwide and community spread is being detected in a growing number of countries.

The COVID-19 response is fast-moving and complex. CDC is working with WHO and other international partners, state and local public health partners, the clinical community, policy makers, and media outlets to respond. CDC is heavily involved in combatting the spread of the virus by conducting medical screenings and illness response activities at various ports of entry throughout the United States and locations across the world.

COVID-19 Readiness Response

CDC Interim Guidance for Specific Audiences

CDC Communication Resources

Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM)

Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) are multidisciplinary committees in states and cities that perform comprehensive reviews of deaths among women within a year of the end of a pregnancy. CDC works with MMRCs to improve review processes that inform recommendations for preventing future deaths.

CDC has funded 24 awards, supporting 25 states for the Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM) Program. The funding directly supports agencies and organizations that coordinate and manage MMRCs to identify, review, and characterize maternal deaths; and identify prevention opportunities. This work will:

  • Facilitate an understanding of the drivers of maternal mortality and complications of pregnancy and a better understanding of the associated disparities.
  • Determine what interventions at patient, provider, facility, system, and community levels will have the most effect.
  • Inform the implementation of initiatives in the right places for families and communities who need them most.

This Pregnancy-Related Deaths: Data from 14 US Maternal Mortality Review Committees, 2008 – 2017 is a data brief released by CDC with updated data from 14 MMRCs. Key findings included the following:

  • Approximately 2 out of 3 pregnancy-related deaths occur outside of the day of delivery or the week postpartum.
  • The leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths varied by race/ethnicity.
  • Approximately 2 out of 3 deaths were determined to be preventable.
Women and Minority Populations are at Greater Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
Two women

Hispanic and African Americans in the United States will see the largest increases in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias between 2015 and 2060. Dementia is not a specific disease but rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. CDC’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Data portal provides easy access to national and state level CDC data on a range of key indicators of health and well-being for adults.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Current estimates are that about 5.8 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, including 5.6 million aged 65 and older and about 200,000 under age 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. By 2060, the number of Alzheimer’s disease cases is predicted to rise to an estimated 14 million people, with some minority populations showing the largest increases.

  • Cases among Hispanics will increase seven times over current
  • Cases among African Americans will increase four times over current

Understanding the disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is the first step toward developing prevention strategies and targeting services to those most at risk for developing the disease. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, and access to resources for caregivers at Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging.

First National Estimates on Diabetes Within Hispanic and Asian Populations in the U.S.
woman eating an apple, a boy with a soccer ball, and woman weighing man on a scale.

In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicineexternal icon, CDC researchers examined the percentage of adults living with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian subgroups. To develop this nationally representative survey, they used data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey covering the years 2011 to 2016. The data filled a national surveillance gap in Hispanic and Asian Populations.

Key study findings reveal differences in diabetes prevalence among subgroups:

Among the following Hispanic subgroups, the age-sex-adjusted percentages of adults living with diagnosed and diabetes were:

  • 25% for Mexicans
  • 22% for Puerto Ricans
  • 21% for Cuban/Dominicans
  • 19% for Central Americans
  • 12% for South Americans

Among the following subgroups of non-Hispanic Asians, the age-sex-adjusted percentages of adults living with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes were:

  • 23% for South Asians
  • 22% for Southeast Asians
  • 14% for East Asians

The United States is an increasingly diverse nation, as Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians collectively now account for 23% of the US population and are expected to account for 38% by 2060, according to Census Dataexternal icon. “This landmark diabetes survey provides essential data that will better inform public health efforts to reach more Americans with tailored, effective prevention and treatment strategies,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “This defined data on the prevalence of diabetes among Hispanic and Asian demographic groups can help healthcare providers and patients reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.”

To learn more about diabetes or the National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Preventing Early Trauma
family celebration

Adverse experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood. ACEs can include violence, abuse, and growing up in a family with mental health or substance use problems. Toxic stress from ACEs can change brain development and affect how the body responds to stress. ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. ACEs are common and the effects can add up over time however ACEs can be prevented.

ACEs are common and their impacts add up over time

CDC scientists analyzed data from more than 144,000 adults and found:

  • ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental health, substance misuse, and reduced educational and occupational achievement.
  • Preventing ACEs has the potential to reduce leading causes of death such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, and suicide.
  • ACEs prevention can have a positive impact on education and employment levels.

Learn more about ACEs and how to raise awareness.

New CDC Report: STDs Continue to Rise in the U.S.
number of cases of STDs in the United States. 2,457,118 total cases in 2018. Follow link for more details

Combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached an all-time high in the United States in 2018, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can have severe health consequences. Among the most tragic are newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis, which increased 22 percent from 2017 to 2018 (from 77 to 94 deaths).

The new report shows that from 2017 to 2018, there were increases in the three most commonly reported STDs:

  • There were more than 115,000 syphilis cases.
    • The number of primary and secondary syphilis cases – the most infectious stages of syphilis – increased 14 percent to more than 35,000 cases, the highest number reported since 1991.
    • Among newborns, syphilis cases increased 40 percent to more than 1,300 cases.
  • Gonorrhea increased 5 percent to more than 580,000 cases – also the highest number reported since 1991.
  • Chlamydia increased 3 percent to more than 1.7 million cases – the most ever reported to CDC.

“STDs can come at a high cost for babies and other vulnerable populations,” said Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “Curbing STDs will improve the overall health of the nation and prevent infertility, HIV, and infant deaths.”

Data suggest that multiple factors are contributing to the overall increase in STDs, including:

  • Drug use, poverty, stigma, and unstable housing, which can reduce access to STD prevention and care
  • Decreased condom use among vulnerable groups, including young people, gay, and bisexual men
  • Cuts to STD programs at the state and local level – in recent years, more than half of local programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in clinic closures, reduced screening, staff loss, and reduced patient follow-up and linkage to care services.

CDC continues to work on multiple fronts to address the nation’s STD epidemic. For example, CDC provides resources to state and local health departments for STD prevention and surveillance. CDC’s current funding program for health departments, Strengthening STD Prevention and Control for Health Departments, supports several high-priority strategies and activities, including eliminating congenital syphilis. As part this program, CDC supports health departments in conducting disease investigations, responding to public health outbreaks, providing training for health care providers, community engagement and partnerships, and other efforts.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes CDC, is developing a Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Federal Action Plan (STI Plan) to address and reverse the nation’s STD epidemic. The STI Plan is being developed by partners across the federal government, with input from a wide array of stakeholders, and will be released in 2020. Visit iconexternal icon for more information.

CDC’s Engagement with Community and Faith-Based Organizations to Improve Response of Vulnerable Groups
people assisting one another in a community-based outreach

In a recent publication in the American Journal of Public Healthexternal icon, CDC colleagues described the significance of CDC engagement with communities and faith-based organizations to improve response time in public health emergencies. The authors recall in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina exposed troubling gaps in areas with inadequate resources, it highlighted the ability of community and faith-based organizations (CFBOs) to respond quickly to the needs of vulnerable communities. Soon after, CDC and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) developed the At-Risk Populations Projectexternal icon. This initiative was designed to help state and local public health officials protect at-risk people during a severe influenza pandemic and other public health emergencies.

The project included several components:

  • CDC conducted reviews of the 2008 pandemic influenza Goal 5 State Operational Plans, showing that 62% of the plans had outlined a process to identify and reach out to at-risk populations and 64% had advised local health departments to work with CFBOs to meet the needs of vulnerable households;
  • CDC and ASTHO developed and disseminated a resource document and conduced six in-person trainings and webinars to help state and local health departments to engage CFBOs and reach at-risk populations;
  • Lastly, CDC and ASTHO collaborated on a 10-step approach for health communications with community and faith-based organizations during public health emergencies.

These components emphasized the importance in engaging with organizations that could reach vulnerable communities, incorporating them into an overarching public health strategy, and maintaining relationships over time. The At-Risk Population project helped to prepare the state and local response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Learn more about the work CDC’s Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections and National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases teams are doing to build resilience in vulnerable communities.

Citation: Scott Santibañez, MD, DMin, MPHTM, Mark Davis, MDiv, and Rachel Nonkin Avchen, PhD, MSScott Santibañez is with the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Mark Davis and Rachel Nonkin Avchen are with the Division of State and Local Readiness, Center for Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Rachel Nonkin Avchen is also a guest editor for this supplement issue. “CDC Engagement with Community and Faith-Based Organizations in Public Health Emergencies”, American Journal of Public Health 109, no. S4 (September 1, 2019): pp. S274-S276.

Adult Physical Inactivity Prevalence Maps by Race/Ethnicity

According to new state maps of adult physical inactivity, all states and territories had more than 15 percent of adults who were physically inactive and this estimate ranged from 17.3 to 47.7 percent. Inactivity levels vary among adults by race/ethnicity and location.

The maps use combined data from 2015 through 2018 and show noticeable differences in the prevalence of physical inactivity by race/ethnicity. Hispanics (31.7%) had the highest prevalence of physical inactivity, followed by non-Hispanic blacks (30.3%) and non-Hispanic whites (23.4%). In the majority of states, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics had a significantly higher prevalence of inactivity than non-Hispanic whites.

Learn more about prevalence of physical inactivity from CDC’s Division of Physical Activity branch.

Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
* Respondents were classified as physically inactive if they responded “no” to the following question: “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”
** Sample size <50 or the relative standard error (dividing the standard error by the prevalence) ≥30%.

Page last reviewed: April 3, 2020