A professor at Clemson University has been tapped to assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) in the organization’s new science initiative that aims to provide scenario-based analyses of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gary Machlis, environmental sustainability professor at Clemson, will serve on the initiative’s executive council, according to a university release. NASEM created the Response and Resilient Recovery Strategic Science Initiative to help decision-makers better take action throughout the pandemic that will lead to recovery.
Previously, Machlis oversaw the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Science Group during such crises as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest in U.S. history, and Hurricane Sandy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presents extraordinary challenges over the immediate to long-term,” said Machlis. “The executive council that the National Academies has assembled is working hard to identify the most critical scenarios, and I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this effort.”
Currently, the executive council has a list of focus areas that include how the pandemic could impact climate change, food security, U.S. research universities and the learning trajectories of low-income and special-needs K-12 students.
National Academy of Sciences president Marcia McNutt, who led the creation of the initiative based on her experience with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, said, “The purpose of this initiative is to take a careful look at these cascading impacts on essential aspects of modern society in the months and years ahead.” It’s not only helpful to look at flattening the curve of cases in the short term, but there needs to also be a plan for the long road ahead when the pandemic eases, she said.
“This is a tool where we can identify these emerging issues and come up with a series of steps to get them in front of stakeholders before these scenarios have actually played out with negative consequences,” said McNutt.