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Separating Fact From Fiction – Learn The Science Behind COVID-19 With This Free Online Course

As COVID-19 sweeps the globe and upends life as we know it, some fake news about the novel coronavirus is also permeating social media news feeds. 

Fortunately, for those searching for evidence-based information on how to combat this pandemic, the Imperial College London’s Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) has recently launched a free online class.

Offered through Coursera, the course, entitled Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19, brings together leading experts from Imperial to explain the science behind some of the most pressing questions on COVID-19.

The 19-hour-long course covers a variety of topics such as the scale of COVID-19, the use of reliable sources of information to track trends, the role of community involvement and social media in controlling outbreaks, the economic impact and more. The course is being updated as the situation unfolds, so the information imparted stays current.

“Responding to an emerging infection such as this novel Coronavirus is a major challenge for health systems and the public, but also for scientists carrying out rapid research to provide evidence-based solutions,” Helen Ward, professor of public health at Imperial and an instructor of the course, said in a statement

“Imperial’s ‘Science Matters’ is a new educational program providing opportunities for learning in real-time as the outbreak and the science develop,” she added. “This will be valuable for people wanting topical updates, but then delving into the underpinning research in epidemic modelling, public health and clinical research.” 

Katharina Hauck, deputy director of J-IDEA and reader in health economics in Imperial’s Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, is the other listed instructor of the COVID-19 course.

To date, more than 17,000 students have already enrolled in the course.  

Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19 is not Imperial’s first foray into free online courses on public health. Through Coursera, Imperial also offers other free online courses aimed at beginners, including Epidemiology for Public Health, Foundations of Public Health Practice and Statistical Analysis for Public Health

For those who are interested in delving deeper into public health, Imperial offers a master’s degree through Coursera. The degree, named Global Master of Public Health, takes 24 months to complete and Imperial charges a fee that varies based on the student’s geographical location.