The Economist and the Epidemiologists: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods in the COVID-19 Crisis


DATE: April 15, 2020

DAY: Wednesday

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM


IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks with Imperial College Professors Neil Ferguson and Azra Ghani about the impact of the pandemic on public health and the global economy.

The Economist and the Epidemiologists: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods in the COVID-19 Crisis


Panelist: Kristalina Georgieva

Kristalina Georgieva is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944. Before joining the Fund, Ms. Georgieva was Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank and also served as Interim President for a time. Previously, she served at the European Commission as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources – and as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. She was named “European of the Year” and “Commissioner of the Year” by European Voice for her leadership in the European Union’s humanitarian response to crises.

Panelist: Neil Ferguson

Professor Neil Ferguson is the director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA), head of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Vice-Dean for Academic Development in the Faculty of Medicine, all at Imperial College, London. Ferguson has used mathematical modelling to provide data on several disease outbreaks including the swine flu outbreak in 2009 in the UK, the 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak and the ebola epidemic in Western Africa in 2016. His work has also included research on mosquito-borne diseases including zika fever, yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria. In February 2020, during the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic, which began in China, Ferguson and his team used statistical models to estimate that cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were significantly under-detected in China. He is part of UK's Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team.

Panelist: Azra Ghani

Professor Azra Ghani is the Chair of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health for Imperial College. Her research considers the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, including malaria, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and coronavirus. She has worked with the World Health Organization on their technical strategy for malaria.