Do You Have COVID-19 Questions? We Have Answers: Ask a Scientist Launches

This blog post was written by  and originally appeared in the Federation of American Scientists blog on March 18, 2020.


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Today, the Federation of American Scientists, The Governance Lab at New York University Tandon School of Engineering, and the State of New Jersey Office of Innovation launched a free interactive tool to help answer the public’s questions on COVID-19 virus in English and Spanish.

“Ask a Scientist,” located at covid19.fas.org offers answers to questions about the nature of the virus, public health data on the outbreak, guidance on how to protect against contracting the virus, and even information for travellers. All the content is sourced from WHO, CDC, and other reliable and verified sources, researched and edited for readability and clarity by a team of scientific experts.

“We are in the midst of what could become the greatest infectious disease outbreak of our time,” FAS President Ali Nouri says about the new collaboration. “The public deserves science-based information during this crisis and we’re proud of this partnership to provide that.”

To use the service, a person types in a question. If they don’t find the answer they need, they can click “Ask a Scientist” and receive a researched answer by a team of FAS researchers and a crowdsourced network of vetted science experts led by the National Science Policy Network. Every answer is sourced, cited and dated to ensure accuracy and timeliness. Answers are then added to the knowledge base for the benefit of others.

“We are getting all hands on deck, and engaging a global volunteer network of scientists, journalists and other experts to lend their know how to provide rapid and accurate information that will help slow the spread of this disease and mitigate its impact,” says Professor Beth Simone Noveck, Director of the Governance Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Chief Innovation Officer for the State of New Jersey.

In addition to providing the public with key information on COVID-19 virus, Ask a Scientist is also designed to dispel myths and disinformation on coronavirus that is circulating online and on social media.

Ask a Scientist will also be live on the Amazon Alexa by the end of the week. Just say “Alexa, Ask a Scientist” followed by your COVID-19 questions to access the service by voice.

To visit Ask a Scientist, click here.