CARLA K. JOHNSON - AP Medical Writer

A new U.S. government center aims to become the National Weather Service for infectious diseases.

The new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics launched Tuesday. It's being billed as an early warning system to help guide the response to COVID-19 and future pandemics.

Its leaders say predicting the course of the current pandemic in the United States has been hampered by problems collecting data.

The center is housed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Its initial $200 million in funding came from the 2021 coronavirus relief package.