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News Archive

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May 23, 2021 to May 29, 2021

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: The Nation's Vaccine Rollout as of Memorial Day Weekend

CNN International (May 29) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the status of the U.S. vaccination campaign. “We're starting to reap the benefits of seeing so many people vaccinated; 50 percent of the population has had a vaccine, at least one vaccine. That's fantastic news,” Rimoin said. “But for people who have not yet been vaccinated, the risk of coronavirus infection is still very real and very, very dangerous.” (Note: Video is available here)

COVID-19: Memorial Day Travelers Pile on to Flights

Inside Edition (May 28) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about whether Memorial Day weekend travel could lead to another surge in infections. “Even though all of the indicators are trending in the right direction, we’re not yet out of the woods,” Rimoin said. “If we see people getting together in large groups, we are giving this virus an opportunity to spread, and so we could see surges again, after the holiday weekend.”

COVID-19: Avoid Medical Jargon to Shrink Health Disparities

NPR (May 24) interviewed Dr. Anne Pebley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about the Translatecovid.org project, launched in May 2020 to helps people find COVID-19 resources in different languages. (Pebley) “notes that nuances in phrasing in each language can have major ramifications in public health. For example, she points out, the translatecovid.org website deliberately uses the word "mascarilla" as the Spanish term for face mask, while some other public information campaigns use the term "cubreboca." The latter term literally means "covers mouth," but could be misunderstood as implying that the nose need not be covered, Pebley says.”

COVID-19: “We can Control the Pandemic with Vaccinations”

Fox News (May 23) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about COVID-19 vaccines and facemask requirements. “If you are vaccinated then you are unlikely to get the virus but you are also unlikely to transmit it to other people, and that’s key – that’s why we have these mandates and that’s why we’re still talking about this,” Rimoin said. “The way we’re going to be able to control this pandemic, the way we’re going to be able to keep going in the direction we’re going is by vaccination.”

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and on-line)

COVID-19: Only two California Counties are Near `Herd Immunity’

The Napa Valley Register (May 29) quoted Dr. Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about why most of California’s 58 counties have less than half of their eligible population vaccinated. “We can’t just look at one county and say ‘Hey, this county got to 80%. But (the county next door) is at 60%.’ That means neither county is where it needs to be,” Shafir said. “Really, what’s important is related to the probability that someone infected comes in contact with someone who is susceptible.”

COVID-19: Have Half the World’s Pandemic Deaths Gone Uncounted?

The Los Angeles Times (May 28) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about a model suggesting that the true number of COVID-19 deaths around the world was more than double the figure from the World Health Organization. “I don’t think we can necessarily assume what happens in the United States or California is the same as what’s going to happen in Gabon, or Ghana, or someplace else,” Brewer said. “I think that’s kind of the biggest challenge I have with this.”

COVID-19: A Different Memorial Day Awaits California as Pandemic Recedes

The Los Angeles Times (May 28) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the likelihood California will avoid a future spike in COVID-19 cases. “I think that we are going in the right direction,” Kim-Farley said. “We will never have a surge like we had during the viral tsunami of the post-holiday season, just because now we have so many people vaccinated, and so many people have got natural immunity from having had the disease.” 

COVID-19: An Unwelcome Wedding Present?

The Los Angeles Times (May 28) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the likelihood House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was infectious, but asymptomatic, as he mingled with family members and others at a December wedding. “It’s always helpful and supportive of public health guidance when those in elected positions try to emulate and follow the guidance that the constituents are being asked to abide by,” Kim-Farley said. 

COVID-19: Five Ways to Socialize Safely This Summer

Health Central (May 28) interviewed Dr. Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about how to remain safe from infection as physical distancing guidelines loosen up this summer. “It’s not as if the population has been vaccinated and all of a sudden there’s no chance that we can see transmission of COVID-19,” Shafir said. “And here is the point that hits home for those living with chronic conditions: “People who have immune-compromising conditions may be less likely, even when they are fully vaccinated, to mount full immunity.”

COVID-19: Why Experts Think Most Vaccinated People Don’t Need Masks

The Los Angeles Times (May 27) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about whether the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines means those vaccinated can reduce wearing face masks. “Given the extraordinary efficaciousness of this vaccine, one can again follow the science and say that it’s very low risk if you’ve been vaccinated,” Kim-Farley said. “As we get to extremely low levels of disease in the community — because of community immunity — the risks of you even being near someone who is infected becomes diminishingly small as well.”

COVID-19: `This is Who Should be Required to Get Vaccinated’

Well+Good (May 26)interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about employment-based vaccine mandates and vaccine hesitancy. “In an ideal world, we shouldn’t have to require anybody to get vaccinated against SARS CoV-2 because everybody would want to do that to prevent not only themselves from getting potentially sick or hospitalized but also protecting the community and those around them,” Brewer said. “We need to do a better job of understanding the reluctance of some groups or individuals to be vaccinated, and figure out how can we reach them through trusted peers and providing appropriate information to address their concerns.” 

COVID-19: Time to Return to Movie Theaters? It’s Complicated

G/O Media (May 26) interviewed Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the potential risks of seeing a film in a theater. “If you are unvaccinated, being in a theater really puts you at a greater risk for infection,” Rimoin said. “People who aren’t vaccinated still need to wear masks and social distance and be much more cautious; but at this point, in places where there is low community transmission, if you are vaccinated, going to a theater is a very-low-risk situation.” 

COVID-19: Ever Wonder if Vaccines are Safe and Effective?

Ever Wonder? (May 26) interviewed Dr. Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about whether vaccines are safe and effective. “One thing that's really important to remember when we think about the timeline—work on coronavirus vaccines actually started in 2003, when we had the first SARS outbreak,” Shafir said. “So we shouldn't really think of it as we, we found a COVID-19 vaccine in one year. We should think of it as it took 17 years to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.”

COVID-19: Analysis Reveals Need to Break Down Data for Ethnic Subgroups

State of Reform (May 26) quoted Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, about research that suggests breaking out the data for each of the racial and ethnic group would enable public health officials to more effectively deploy vaccinations, testing, and treatment. “Public-facing data systems benefit from having disaggregated data,” Ponce said. “With clearer information about their communities, policymakers and public health organizations can not only identify the needs of overlooked, at-risk groups, but also can better distribute resources to give those groups a better chance to recover from this health emergency.”

COVID-19: California Latinos are Behind in Vaccinations

The Sacramento Bee (May 25) interviewed Dr. Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of health policy and management, about why Latinos, who account for 40% of the state’s population, make up just a quarter of Californians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. “Immigrant communities, they just realize that someone like Trump, if not Trump, can come back ... and re-impose this type of public charge exclusion,” said Bustamante, referring to the former administration’s now-superseded “public charge” rule. 

COVID-19: The Nationwide Obsession With Buying Face Masks is Over

Marketwatch (May 25) interviewed Dr. Peter Katona, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about a decline in face mask sales in the United States as the vaccination campaign ramps up. “I have a feeling that when COVID goes away, masks are going to go away,” Katona said. 

COVID-19: There's a Downside to Returning to Pre-Pandemic Hygiene Habits

USA Today (May 25) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about post-pandemic habits to avoid infectious diseases. “Stay home when you get sick. Do a good job when washing your hands. Physically distance if you're indoors where you think you might be around sick people,” Brewer said. “These are things that will keep you and your family healthier.” 

COVID-19: In-Home Management Program now Underway in Armenia

Asbarez Armenian Daily (May 25) interviewed Dr. Alina Dorian, associate dean for public health practice at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about a joint U.S.-Armenia program designed to treat low-acuity COVID-19 cases in Armenia in their homes, rather than in hospitals. “The COVID-19 in-home management program is an innovative enterprise designed with the needs and resources of Armenia in mind,” Dorian said. “We hope to transition this model to the treatment of other diseases in the future.”  

COVID-19: “I got the Shot. Now What?”

The AARP Bulletin (May 24; hard copy only) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about whether older Americans should be cautious, even if they have been vaccinated. ` “Don’t push the envelope” by going to crowded venues just yet, Kim-Farley says, especially in a community where cases of the virus remain widespread.’

COVID-19: Only two California Counties are Near `Herd Immunity’

Times of San Diego (May 23) quoted Dr. Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about why most of California’s 58 counties have less than half of their eligible population vaccinated. “We can’t just look at one county and say ‘Hey, this county got to 80%. But (the county next door) is at 60%.’ That means neither county is where it needs to be,” Shafir said. “Really, what’s important is related to the probability that someone infected comes in contact with someone who is susceptible.” 

FEATURES (Other)

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

The ASPPH Friday Letter (May 28) reported nine items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty and staff experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included reports on research into hunger during the pandemic by Dr. May Wang, a PBS panel on post-pandemic life that included Dr. Anne Rimoin, Los Angeles Times interviews of Dr. Pouran Faghri and Dr. Yifang Zhu, and a Smithsonian interview of Dr. Steven Horvath. The Letter also listed a Scientific American interview of Dr. Vickie Mays, and COVID-19 research led by Dr. Ninez Ponce; an obituary of Dr. William Hinds; and Dr. Anne Rimoin’s receipt of Johns Hopkins University’s Global Achievement Award. Finally, the Letter also listed an upcoming performance of the opera “Veteran Journeys,” written by Dr. Kenneth Wells.

In California, Extreme Heat and Ozone Pollution hit Poor Communities Hardest

National Geographic (May 25) interviewed Dr. Miriam Marlier, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the impact of climate change on human health in California. ““We’re exposed to air pollution and extreme heat, often at the same time,” Marlier said. “Now we’re getting a better sense of how that might aggravate health effects together. That’s really important as we’re thinking about future climate change.”

UCLA/VA Center for Excellence to Sponsor May 27 Academic/Public Conference

Sciencenews (May 24) quoted Dr. Kenneth Wells, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, an advance about this week’s “Veteran Resilience and Recovery” conference at UCLA, created to focus on the veteran community, including addressing homelessness and behavioral health. “This will be an important chance to share both research findings and engage providers, veterans and the community in innovations in support of veterans with homelessness and behavioral health conditions,” Wells said. “The panels will also address resilience and recovery, including through acknowledging the importance of the arts as an engagement strategy.” Also quoted was Dr. Lillian Gelberg, a Fielding School professor of health policy management: “A major element of the event is to bring forward the work UCLA and VA researchers have been doing in Los Angeles and elsewhere, with support from our Veteran and provider stakeholder groups, on how to improve the health and quality of care of our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including Veterans facing homelessness,” Gelberg said. “Through the COE, our team have developed the art and science of working with stakeholders to come up with innovative ideas, pilot them, and use data from the field and existing VA databases to learn how to bring these ideas to serve veterans.”

Commission set up to Re-Imagine Public Health Data Systems with Equity Lens

Healthcare Innovation (May 24) reported on the appointment of Dr. Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, to a new, independent National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). 

 

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