Biostats professor testifies before UK Parliament on COVID-19 response

Xihong Lin, professor of biostatistics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, testified before the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee in April. Lin’s testimony focused on lessons learned so far in the fight against COVID-19.

Following Lin and other witnesses’ testimonies, the Committee wrote a letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on its findings and highlighted 10 recommendations to aid in the response to COVID-19. The letter, which was recently made public, cited several points from Lin’s testimony, including her recommendations around testing priorities, test-trace-isolation strategies, detection of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases, and addressing issues related to health disparities.

Lin also recently presented research at a webinar hosted by the Committee of the Presidents of Statistical Societies and the National Institute of Statistical Science. The presentation showcased results from her recent Wuhan study published in JAMA, as well as data from the HowWeFeel app, a digital tool that allows individuals in the U.S. to quickly self-report age, gender, zip code, symptoms, health conditions, and testing results.

One key takeaway from the U.S. data collected through the HowWeFeel app is that people with infected household members have a much higher risk of having a positive test compared to those without infected household members. Lin said that this finding indicates that the household transmission rate is high in the U.S., and underscores the importance of the test-trace-isolation intervention that Massachusetts has launched.

Read the UK Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee letter: COVID-19 pandemic: some lessons learned so far

View the slides from the National Institute of Statistical Science webinar: Learning from COVID-19 Data in Wuhan, USA and Europe on Intervention Strategies

Learn more

New ‘How We Feel’ app aims to improve COVID-19 response (Harvard Chan School news)