Introduction

Gloved hand holding a medical syringe

"Unprecedented."

"Once-in-a-century."

"The new normal."

All of us sought refuge in these phrases as a novel virus swept across the globe.

In the space of a year, COVID-19 deaths worldwide have topped two million, with the United States ranking first on a per-country basis.

As the first cases spiraled into a global pandemic, we at Emory rolled up our sleeves. Relying on our deep well of experience and innovation across health care and the research enterprise, we resolved to do what we do best.

Unparalleled patient care. Nearly 4,000 of our doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals rushed to care for the 7,423 COVID-19 patients who turned to us, nearly 2,000 of whom required intensive care. When we required more help, we brought in other health care workers—approximately 600 of them. For COVID-19 patients who could not pay and qualified for the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program,  Emory provided $56 million in unreimbursed care. And we celebrated with patients and their families when we were able to make 6,833 successful discharges.

Nimble research. We lost no time in working to defeat the virus, as our level of grant support attests: Emory ranks third in the country among universities earning NIH funding to battle COVID-19. Across so many key categories—testing, therapeutics, vaccines, and surveillance—Emory has led. In just a year, Emory investigators launched more than 115 research projects and studies, including several clinical trials, and published more than 580 papers on COVID-19. Through ACTT-1 (Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial), sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Emory contributed to a national standard of care for COVID-19 treatment.

Our vaccine and infectious disease specialists appear regularly in the media, helping dispel misinformation and explain the science behind prevention and treatment. In recruitment for clinical trials as well as education and testing outreach efforts, Emory continues to focus on underserved communities of color.

Through Emory’s unstinting efforts in these areas, more patients have recovered and fewer will be sickened. We have brought hope in a dark time in ways that are—yes—unprecedented.