Los Angeles Pandemic Surveillance Cohort Initiative

USC Schaeffer Center and Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Department of Preventive Medicine are collaborating with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on a study aimed at generating data on the “true” prevalence of COVID-19 infection in LA County (overall, and among key subgroups) as well as its cumulative incidence (i.e., progression) over a defined period of time. The study will follow as many as 3,000 county residents over time to better understand social inequities exposed by COVID-19 as well as other impacts of the pandemic.

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Study Overview

The goal of the study is to closely track the continued impact of COVID-19 infections on communities and families, even as vaccination programs roll out. The study will allow the investigators to distinguish between those participants who are positive due to prior infection and those who are positive due to vaccination.

A community-based cohort of 2,000 households involving 2,000 adults (and, potentially, 1,000 associated children age 5 or greater) who are representative of the demographics of citizens in LA County will be recruited with the help of LA-based market research firm LRW. Participants will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies — a sign of previous infection — and retested after two to three months. The research team will also track changes in their health and well-being during the pandemic by asking questions about their jobs, mental health and attitudes toward preventive measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.


Howard Hu, MD, MPH, ScD
Professor, Keck School of Medicine of USC
Flora L. Thornton Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Paul Simon, MD, MPH
Chief Science Officer, LA County Department of Public Health

Neeraj Sood, PhD
COVID Initiative Director, USC Schaeffer Center
Professor, Price School of Public Policy



This study is supported with funds from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as strategic investments from USC.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Research Center, based in the Keck School of Medicine’s Department of Preventive Medicine, aims to understand and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on community health locally and globally, with a focus on health inequities related to age, gender, occupation, race and socioeconomic status. The center has more than 60 members with expertise in a range of disciplines from epidemiology, laboratory and data sciences to survey research and health behavior.