AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A UMass Amherst health professor and researcher is getting $3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help predict flu outbreaks in a more practical way.
UMass Professor Nicholas Reich is working to make flu forecasting more up to date and local. Reich’s team collects daily statistics from local clinics, hospitals and other forecasting teams around the country to better track the flu, similar to weather forecasts.
“It’s very similar to how weather forecasters forecast the path of hurricanes,” Reich said. “They combine models from different groups that have different underlying data sources or different underlying assumptions and that’s what we’re doing to help anticipate flu outbreaks.”
Reich said the current models we use now from public health agencies are usually a few weeks old and out of date. The new forecast will help look into the future, potentially reducing the virus’ impact.
The forecasts will be available on the CDC’s website at the end of October, where you can get weekly flu predictions from UMass researchers.