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News Archive

August 2, 2020 to August 8, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: Testing is actually down in 29 states

CNN (Aug. 7) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about the failings of testing in the U.S. as an element of the pandemic response. “Testing needs to be expanding, not contracting. And we really need to keep an eye on positivity rates,” Rimoin said. The story also ran on KTLA-TV, KITV-TV (Hawaii), KDRV-TV (Oregon), and WICU-TV (Pennsylvania), and a related story ran on Spark Health MD.

COVID-19: “We have to be able to forgo present pleasure for future gain”

MSNBC (Aug. 7) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about President Trump’s comments the pandemic “will disappear.” “We’re coming again to this issue of disinformation, wishful thinking, and rhetoric,” Rimoin said. “We have to be able to forgo present pleasure for future gain.”

COVID-19: Not all masks are equal; wear masks without vents

KNBC-TV (Aug. 6) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about why masks with exhalation valves, commonly used when working with chemicals, are not the right choice for fighting the pandemic. “When you have a valve in that mask, it allows you to exhale, and allows you to exhale particles of the virus, which can then be spread to others," Rimoin said. "It might make it more comfortable for you, but the problem is that it defeats the purpose of wearing a mask to prevent spread to other people.”

COVID-19: Cases increase in San Joaquin Valley and southeast Los Angeles County

KPCC-FM (Aug. 6) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the latest medical research and news on the pandemic, including upswings in the San Joaquin Valley and southeast Los Angeles County. “These individuals are essential workers and so they’ve been unable to shelter at home and so actually have to continue to go out and engage with the public, which places them at risk for infection,” Brewer said. “We need to identify the people who have COVID-19, make sure they are properly isolating and getting the medical care that they need, and we are tracing their contacts and placing those contacts in quarantine to try and slow this virus down.”

COVID-19: Quit my job, or risk serious illness?

CNN (Aug. 5) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about infection and transmission among children. "Kids can transmit the virus. They are susceptible to it," Rimoin said. "And the rates of hospitalization is going up." The story ran on multiple other outlets, including MSN, CNN Philippines, KTVZ-TV (Oregon), KTEN-TV (Texas), KBIE-FM (Nebraska) WICU-TV (Pennsylvania), WHDH-TV (Massachusetts), WGCL-TV (Atlanta), WINK-TV (Florida), Gwinnett (GA) Daily Post, Clayton (GA) News-Daily, Rockdale-Newton (GA) Citizen, Albany (GA) Herald, and Jackson (GA) Progress-Herald.

COVID-19: Return to work plans raise concern

CBS News (Aug. 4, begins at 04:00) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about plans by some employers to call workers back to their offices, despite the on-going pandemic. “Just because you can go back in the office doesn’t mean you should go back in the office,” Rimoin said. “To forfeit safety to the idea of having collaborative moments is something that I just can’t agree with.”

COVID-19: Scientists worry about political influence over vaccine project

MSNBC (Aug. 3) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about reports the White House might rush FDA approval of a coronavirus vaccine for an announcement before Election Day. “In science, we try to really eliminate any kind of bias when we look at data and we interpret results,” Rimoin said. “Literally, the way scientists operate is to reduce the amount of bias and to be able to just look at data with nothing else influencing how we interpret it.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: California surpasses 10,000 deaths as state deals with reporting issues

The Washington Post (Aug. 8) interviewed Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management, about a technical glitch in California’s electronic collection of coronavirus test data that has created a backlog of as many as 300,000 records, causing an underreporting of cases since July 25. “as a researcher, if data was more open to data advocates, researchers, the media — more disaggregated race data for example — then these glitches and reporting inefficiencies could be detected sooner to help build a data system where we can confidently run our models on which communities are most at risk and on the timing of safe reopening,” Ponce said.

COVID-19: Major League Soccer season to resume, but protections still in question

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 8) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about Major League Soccer’s plan to resume their season, including possibly moving outside the league’s current quarantine “bubble” in Florida. “I do think it’s an issue; you have people traveling all over the place to play games and coming in contact with each other,” Rimoin said. “Just because you are an elite sports team doesn’t mean you don’t have to take the same precautions as everyone else.” It also ran on MSN Sports and Yahoo Sports.

COVID-19: Parents of college students worry: stay or go?

The New York Times (Aug. 7) interviewed Deborah Glik, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about whether with cases spiking in many parts of the country, will students be safe at college? “There’s going to be outbreaks,” Glik said. “(But) if you bring a kid home who’s been exposed, that’s another problem.”

COVID-19: With 10,000 deaths, California increasingly in the dark about spread

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 7) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about signs the outbreak is peaking and the rate of infections is going down. “We didn’t expect people to become complacent as they have, which provides more opportunities for transmission,” Kim-Farley said. “We can’t expect to reopen again soon.” The story also ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune

COVID-19: Social gatherings fueling contagion

The Marin Independent Journal (Aug. 7) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about reports that parties and family gatherings are fueling the spread of the pandemic in Marin and Sonoma counties. “It’s young adults that are driving this infection right now in California,” Brewer said. 

COVID-19: Employee backlash over return to work policies

Healthcare IT News (Aug. 7) quoted Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about return to work polices, including at Verona, Wisconsin-based Epic Systems, a major health IT company that has become a focus of controversy over a directive that most employees return to its campus from remote work status. “To forfeit safety for the idea of having collaborative moments is something that I just can't agree with," Rimoin said.

COVID-19: Southeast Los Angeles now the epicenter of coronavirus

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 6) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, on the impact of the pandemic in southeastern Los Angeles County, including the cities of  Maywood, Huntington Park, South Gate, Cudahy and Lynwood. “We expected that the COVID cases would sweep out of Beverly Hills and Brentwood and Bel-Air and down into the more exposed areas,” Hayes-Bautista said. “It’s done that exactly, following the line of least resistance.” Hayes-Bautista was also referenced in a commentary published by BenitoLink, in San Benito County.

COVID-19: California scientists want to know if air pollution makes the disease worse

The Palm Springs Desert Sun (Aug. 6) interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about research funded by the California Air Resources Board to study the links between air pollution and disease, including COVID-19 mortality rates. “What we’re seeing in our model is a fairly consistent pattern where there is elevated (COVID-19) risk in areas where there are higher levels of traffic-related air pollution," Jerrett said. “These groups on a regular basis are experiencing higher levels of air pollution, higher levels of lead pollution, living in poor housing conditions, higher levels of psycho-social stress.” The story also ran in the Stockton Record, Visalia Times-Delta, and on MSN and MSN Canada, and Jerrett was quoted in related stories in the Antelope Valley Times and on MyNewsLA.

COVID-19: Los Angeles County tops 200,000 COVID-19 cases

LAist (Aug. 6) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about public health officials’ announcement that the county has more than 201,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Brewer said case numbers are important, but to get a sense of the current trend, pay attention to the case rate per 100,000 people. “Unfortunately, (the county’s) case rate has continued to rise throughout the outbreak and it's currently running about 1,870 cases per hundred thousand population,” he said. “Back in April we were around 400 cases per 100,000 population.” The interview also ran on KPCC-FM.

COVID-19: Are massages and acupuncture treatments safe?

Healthline (Aug. 6) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, on whether massages and acupuncture treatments are safe during the pandemic. “If you are unsure if you need a massage or acupuncture treatment, it is probably better to defer getting a treatment if COVID-19 transmission is occurring in your community,” Brewer said. “It is a question of risk/benefit.”

COVID-19: How those at higher risk from the pandemic can enjoy summer safely

Healthline (Aug. 6) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about how those who are high risk for developing severe illness if they contract the coronavirus can still enjoy the summer while protecting themselves and others. “If you’re traveling, make sure you aren’t around a large concentration of people at any one time,” Brewer said. “You can go out and enjoy the outdoors, but don’t congregate in settings where there are floods of people.”

COVID-19: Our advice for wearing the mask in a heat wave

LCI (Aug. 6, France) quoted Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, on how to wear a mask comfortably in the summer. “Dark colors get warmer faster and draw the sun towards you … wear a light colored mask instead," Rimoin said. “How you breathe through a material is as important as how it stops (the virus)."

COVID-19: UCLA faculty speak at community town hall

Pasadena Weekly (Aug. 6) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, who spoke at a at a virtual community town hall on the pandemic organized by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., whose district includes Burbank, Glendale, and adjacent communities. “All who need to play their part … governments and their public health departments are monitoring the situation closely, issuing the appropriate guidelines for the situations,” Kim-Farley said. “Businesses and schools need to be following these guidelines… as individuals, we really need to be playing our role as well to make sure that we are wearing masks, that we are properly practicing physical distancing.”

COVID-19: School closures tied to long-term health, learning costs for children

Real Clear Politics (Aug. 6) published a commentary by Christina Ramirez, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, on the impact of K-12 school closures on children’s education. “Every decision we make in response to the pandemic, including those of omission, reflects a choice and carries with it a set of costs,” Ramirez wrote. “We, as a society, will decide, either explicitly or implicitly, who will bear this cost. In this pandemic, there are no `safe’ decisions, since every policy choice carries risks that must be recognized, especially if they cannot be easily mitigated.”

COVID-19: Fielding School of Public Health team leading California state study of air pollution and pandemic

Science News (Aug. 5) quoted Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about research funded by the California Air Resources Board to study the links between air pollution and disease, including COVID-19 mortality rates. “We’re hypothesizing that people who live in areas with worse air quality in southern California are more likely to experience severe illness than people who live in areas with cleaner air,” Jerrett said. “Our advanced exposure modeling also allows us to hone in on the specific types of air pollution that could make people more likely to be admitted to be admitted to intensive care, or to die.”

COVID-19: Surge slowing in California, but don’t expect a repeat of reopening fever

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 4) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, on the first signs the recent upswing in confirmed cases in California may be slowing. “We didn’t expect people to become complacent as they have, which provides more opportunities for transmission,” Kim-Farley said. “We can’t expect to reopen again soon; we have to be at least at the level of the first plateau and dropping before we can further reopen.” The story also ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, and on MSN Money and MSN Noticias.

COVID-19: Is a business near you ignoring COVID-19 guidelines?

The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 4) interviewed Linda Delp, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct associate professor of community health sciences and director of the UCLA-Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, about how consumers can act if they see a business ignoring pandemic response guidelines. Along with contacting state or local public health agencies, Delp recommended reaching out to local elected officials, using social media, and neighborhood groups, faith communities, or employers.

COVID-19: Evictions and health equity

HealthAffairs (Aug. 4) published a commentary co-written by Kathryn Leifheit, an epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the pandemic’s impact on housing affordability in the United States. “The connection between evictions and COVID-19 will exacerbate health disparities and social inequities affecting vulnerable populations, including communities of color, women, and children with both immediate and long-term ramifications,” the authors wrote.

COVID-19: California’s cases are finally dropping. How do we stop another surge?

The San Jose Mercury News (Aug 3) interviewed Kathryn Leifheit, an epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about possible next steps in Californians response to the pandemic. “As much as you can give people clear messaging on what’s OK and what’s not, I think that’s the way we can sustain social distancing and make it something people can incorporate into their day-to-day lives,” Leifheit said. The story also ran in the East Bay Times and Marin Independent Journal.

 

FEATURES (Other)

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health efforts spotlighted in ASPPH Friday Letter

The ASPPH Friday Letter (Aug. 7) reported seven items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included a commentary by Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology, on Fox News, and a report on research into the connections between air pollution and COVID-19 led by Michael Jerrett, professor of environmental health sciences; an Aug. 13 COVID-19 webinar event where Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, will speak; a CNN interview of Rimoin, a Los Angeles Times interview of Kim-Farley, and a Guardian interview of Lara Cushing, associate professor of environmental health science; and a report of FSPH’s involvement in the AcademyHealth 2020 Annual Research Meeting.

Why providers should address disparities in telehealth access

HealthTech (Aug. 7) quoted David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, on the issues of health disparities in telehealth. “Telehealth is a new way of doing things. It could provide access in areas where there are shortages, which is true in many Latino areas,” Hayes-Bautista said. “We can get the physician's eye out into underserved areas that physicians and brick-and-mortar hospitals have passed by.”

A growing fight over a cell phone tower in Boyle Heights

KCRW-FM (Aug. 6) interviewed Leeka Kheifets, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology, on the impact of a 5G wireless service project in Boyle Heights. “We need to be cautious, but right now, there are no reasons for great concern,” Kheifets said. “It’s a wonderful technology, (but) we need to be careful.”

UCLA lands $600k grant to study gun violence and safety

MyNewsLA (Aug. 6) quoted UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professors Ninez Ponce and Michael Rodriguez about a $596,000 grant from the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research. “Taking a public health approach is vital in addressing the root causes of violence and how they contribute to the devastating premature deaths of thousands of people in the U.S. each year," Ponce said. Related stories ran in the Westwood-Century City Patch and the Antelope Valley Times.

Why local lawmakers are declaring racism a public health crisis

The Woodland (CA) Daily Democrat (Aug. 4) quoted Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, on research that draws a straight line between systemic racism and health inequities. “Even today, spirometers have a race correction factor, where the underlying assumption is that white people breathe differently than Asians or Black people or Latinos, which is simply not true,” Gee said. “It’s based on flawed science.” The story also ran in the Solano County (CA) Daily Republic

Keto is the diet fad of the decade, but does it work and is it safe?

ZME Science (Aug. 4) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the ketogenic diet, commonly known as “keto.” “This type of diet basically is teaching your body to burn fat and use it as fuel instead of glucose,” Hunnes said. “There is a possibility of weight loss, but to me, the risk to vascular system is not worth it.”

Why local lawmakers are declaring racism a public health crisis

The Los Angeles Daily News (Aug. 3) interviewed Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, on research that draws a straight line between systemic racism and health inequities. “Even today, spirometers have a race correction factor, where the underlying assumption is that white people breathe differently than Asians or Black people or Latinos, which is simply not true,” Gee said. “It’s based on flawed science.” The story also ran in the Orange County Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Ontario Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News, and Redlands Daily Facts.

UCLA FSPH alumnus running for reelection as Oregon insurance commissioner

The Auburn (WA) Examiner (Aug. 2) published a profile of Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, an alumnus (MPH, ’72) of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “His consumer protection staff has helped thousands of Washingtonians with insurance problems, recovering over $200 million in wrongfully delayed or denied claims, “ the author wrote. “The people of Washington deserve quality health insurance. Mike Kreidler has worked tirelessly to make sure insurance companies can no longer deny coverage.”

 

 

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