With COVID-19 confirmed worldwide, including the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web team has been working 24/7 to develop and manage content in multiple languages, and maintain a stable IT infrastructure with spiking hits to the CDC website. Of the more than 600 Northrop Grumman employees and contractors supporting the CDC, more than 85 have been engaged to support the COVID-19 response efforts.
Since launching the COVID-19 website
on January 13, March traffic to this site grew to over 900 million views as of mid-March. Typical traffic to CDC’s main website is 3.5 million views daily, or nearly 100 million monthly.
Specifically, the team provides web development (in English, Spanish, Chinese), social media management, clearance coordination, graphics design, web and social metrics, reporting, administrative and various other communication efforts. Planning has begun to expand translation efforts to include Vietnamese and Korean languages.
Continuing the Legacy of CDC Support for Web and Digital Media Presence
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Pictured are Program Manager Steve Clowse, (center in blue shirt), with a few of the team members who support the CDC’s web tools. Note, this picture was taken prior to the social distance mandate.
Steve Clowse, Northrop Grumman program manager at the CDC, has supported the government agency for more than 11 years and currently oversees the contract supporting the tools, channels and infrastructure for CDC’s web and digital media presence. As COVID-19 response increased drastically over the past few weeks and months, Steve’s team has worked day and night to provide surge support to CDC through resource sharing across Northrop Grumman and rapidly onboarding of temporary external staff.
Managing response efforts during a health pandemic for CDC is not new for this team, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Northrop Grumman has been supporting CDC for more than 23 years, supporting every major outbreak from SARS-Cov to H1N1, Ebola, Zika and countless others. The company aims to be a trusted partner of the CDC, able to ramp up support as needed for everything from IT infrastructure, to data collection and digital communication support.
“Our team never waivers in their willingness to jump in and support the CDC’s mission, often being pulled off normal daily activities to support what is needed most,” said Steve. “Nights, weekends, unexpected workload – everyone comes together.”
Helping the CDC solve tough IT infrastructure problems
The team also monitors and maintains key aspects of the IT infrastructure that cdc.gov runs on and works with the CDC to plan for the potential that traffic increases. This includes preparing seven additional servers to be added for cdc.gov.
“It’s truly a privilege to support these efforts and know that our capabilities are helping CDC solve tough problems,” said Marcie LaRocque-Rowden, manager of the web team responsible for the COVID-19 site. “The COVID-19 emergency response is becoming a piece of history in real time. We are honored to be a part of this mission, to support CDC in protecting people from a global health threat.”
The team’s support is not limited to website content and updates. Northrop Grumman provided ongoing maintenance for quick access recorders to ensure data is flowing smoothly to state and local jurisdictions; reviewed new requirements for the GeoSentinel application, a CDC-hosted application used to collect travel-related surveillance data from travel and tropical clinics around the world; and built a version of the initial passenger screening forms in multiple languages for response teams.
As coronavirus pandemic grows, the team is focused on user experience, as well as developing new resources for their CDC customer. They added webpages to the COVID-19 website on preventing spread in communities, healthcare facilities and respirator strategy. The team also published a new Health Alert Network update and created a page for a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity webinar.
“The COVID-19 response effort is rapidly evolving, and we expect we will continue to work through changes in need and efforts,” said Steve. “But we are up for the challenge; we have a team here in Atlanta that is unmatched and will continue to support this response to the best of our ability…just like any response in the past 23 plus years.”
April 27, 2020