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December 27, 2020 to January 2, 2021

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: New Variant Found in Colorado, California, and Florida

MSNBC (Jan. 2) 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 a new variant of COVID found in Colorado, California, and Florida. “We’ve seen it spread very, very rapidly,” Rimoin said. “A variant that has increased capacity to spread can wreak havoc, especially in a place like the United States where we have uncontrolled spread already.”

COVID-19: “It is More Dangerous Now Than Ever”

KNX-AM (Jan. 2) 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 post-Christmas-spike of confirmed cases. “We are right now starting to see this post-Christmas-spike that we have all been warning about for several weeks,” Rimoin said. “It is more dangerous now than ever.”

COVID-19: “An Infection Anywhere is an Infection Everywhere”

KNX-AM (Jan. 2) 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 newly-discovered and more infectious variant of COVID-19. “It’s a time we could have predicted was going to wreak havoc here in the state,” Rimoin said. “An infection anywhere is an infection everywhere.”

COVID-19: “These Variants are Already Spreading; They’re Already Here”

KNX-AM (Jan. 2) 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 history of the new COVID variants discovered in California and Colorado. “What’s very concerning (is) there’s no history of travel associated with these cases, which really does suggest these cases were acquired in the community,” Rimoin said. “These variants are already spreading; they’re already here.”

COVID-19: California Frontline Workers Are Hesitant On Vaccines, Complicating State's Recovery

WBUR-FM (Jan. 1, NPR Boston affiliate) 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 vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers. “Healthcare workers are very importantly, linchpins of the vaccination effort and so understanding their concerns is critical,” Rimoin said. “What we’ve understood from health workers is that this is an after-effect of the politicization of the vaccine (development) process that was perceived, a feeling that there’s just not enough information that is accessible to them.” It also ran on KNPR-FM (NPR affiliate, Nevada) and WTEB-FM (NPR affiliate, North Carolina).

COVID-19: U.S. can Return to Normal by Fall if it Puts Aside Slow Start

CNN (Dec. 31) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the current increase in cases in Los Angeles County. “I actually think we're now beyond waves or surges and this is a viral tsunami that we are now experiencing,” Kim-Farley said. The story also ran in the East Bay Times.

COVID-19: California Extends Stay-at-Home Orders as Hospitals Near Breaking Point

CBS News (Dec. 30) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the state government’s decision to extend stay-at-home orders as hospitals there remain at or near full capacity. “In Los Angeles County, a lot of poverty, urban density, a lot of essential workers, and manufacturing: all of those are high risk groups,” Brewer said. “We also have ten months of dealing with this pandemic and so fatigue is setting in, and finally, the cold weather also contributes to the spread of respiratory viruses, particularly as people move indoors.” The story also ran on MSN.

COVID-19: Southern California at Critical Level

KNBC-TV (Dec. 30) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the need for southern Californians to remain physically separated from each other. “We’re beyond the state of describing this as waves or surges or even waves on top of waves, we’re now at a viral tsunami now in Los Angeles,” Kim-Farley said. “Just say no, otherwise if we don’t, it will be the hospitals telling us no when we need an ICU bed.”

COVID-19: U.S. Hits Record for Daily Deaths -- Again

KABC-TV (Dec. 30) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about Los Angeles County hospitalizations are at an all-time high and nearing 7,200, almost 1,000% up from just two months ago. “I actually think we're now beyond waves or surges and this is a viral tsunami that we are now experiencing,” Kim-Farley said.

COVID-19: Why Los Angeles County is the Epicenter of the Pandemic

KPCC-FM (Dec. 30) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about why Los Angeles County is the epicenter of the pandemic. “We are indeed in a viral raging wildfire here in California right now,” Kim-Farley said. “Pandemic fatigue has set in, where people are not adhering enough as they should be … but also in Los Angeles we have less a percentage of high tech workers, (so) less people can telecommute; they have to go into work.”

COVID-19: The Pace of the Vaccination Campaign in the United States

CNN (Dec. 29) 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 pace of the vaccination campaign in the United States. “It will take years to be able to vaccinate as many people as need to be vaccinated, at the pace that we're going right now,” Rimoin said. “We've been talking about this for months, how important the logistics of vaccine distribution is. It's not just about having a vaccine; it's about having it in people's arms.”

COVID-19: “Triage Measures That are Done in Crisis Situations”

CNN (Dec. 29) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about triage to deal with the increase of patients. “More patients are being taken care of by fewer nurses,” Kim-Farley said. “You have then ambulances waiting outside to get into emergency rooms. You have all of these triage measures that are done in crisis situations that isn't going to give us the quality of care we would normally like to see.”

COVID-19: Holiday Travel Increases Fear of Surge

The CBS Evening News (Dec. 29, begins at 00:50) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the post-Thanksgiving surge that has overwhelmed California hospitals. “I think we're now in a viral tsunami," Kim-Farley said. “Our hospitals become overloaded, your intensive care unit beds become unavailable … there’s no room at the inn.”

COVID-19: “Basically You Just Begin to Compromise the Quality of Care”

CNN (Dec. 28) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about how hospitals are coping with the increase in pandemic-related cases. “You have to move to what they call surge procedures or protocols, which means turning off elective surgeries, it means changing the staff’s ratio of patients to nurses,” Kim-Farley said. “It means that you may not be able to move someone from your emergency department into your ICU bed, which then backs up the emergency department and the ambulances leading to that. So, basically you just begin to compromise the quality of care.”

COVID-19: Holiday Travel Increases Fear of Surge

The CBS Evening News (Dec. 28) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the current surge’s impact on California’s hospitals. “Everyone is experiencing a surge now,” Kim-Farley said. “Therefore, the mutual aid agreements are very limited.” A related story ran in the Deseret News.

COVID-19: California has Second Highest Daily Case Rate in the U.S.

KABC-TV (Dec. 28) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about California having the second-highest infection rate in the country. “We have, basically, a pandemic fatigue that has set it where people maybe aren't wearing masks when they should be,” Kim-Farley said. “They're beginning to try to go out and see friends or have friends over. And I think we have really amplifying events that have occurred with the back-to-back holiday seasons."

COVID-19: Los Angeles is Fast Becoming the Pandemic Center of the U.S.

The BBC (Dec. 28, begins at 04:20) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in southern California for the Newsday program. “We really are facing a viral, raging wildfire in Los Angeles,” Kim-Farley said. “We are seeing a high, steep rise that has compromised our hospital systems; we really have no ICU beds capacity.”

COVID-19: Stay-at-home Order Likely Extended Due to ICU Capacity

KESQ-TV (Dec. 28, ABC affiliate, Riverside) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about California’s stay-at-home order. “When we talked before, we talked about there were surges, now I’m actually saying we have a virtual tsunami on our hands here in California and Los Angeles,” Kim-Farley said.

COVID-19: The Latest on California's Surge and Vaccine Rollout

KQED-FM (Dec. 28) interviewed Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management, about her experience as a participant in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. “Data shows that with these new COVID vaccines, the rates of side effects are a bit higher than what we might see from the flu shot,” Choi said. “The way that vaccines work is they activate of body’s immune system, (when) we say a vaccine is reactogenic it means you get some of the symptoms of the disease.” Also interviewed was Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology. “We’ve basically had exponential growth in COVID cases and hospitalization since Halloween, and there’s no sigh of that slowing down,” Brewer said. “The next two months in particular are very likely to be a very difficult time for us.”

COVID-19: “This is a Tsunami of Virus”

KNX-AM (Dec. 27) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in southern California. “This is a tsunami of virus and I’m very concerned we’re going to see the next amplification with New Year’s, as well,” Kim-Farley said. “The chances are very high.”

COVID-19: “A True Viral Wildfire”

KNX-AM (Dec. 27) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in southern California. “I think we’re going to see perhaps a true viral wildfire here that will be further compromising our hospital capacity as well as the ICU beds,” Kim-Farley said. “You may have someone coming into your home (and) they could be carrying and transmitting COVID to you, your family, and friends.”

COVID-19: “This is The Time to Hunker Down”

KNX-AM (Dec. 27) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in southern California. “People really need to understand this is the time to hunker down and really practice masking and physical distancing,” Kim-Farley said. “You could be exposing your parents or grandparents, or people that may have pre-existing illnesses that are your friends; so do it for others, not just yourself.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: Feared Post-Christmas Surge Appears to Begin in Los Angeles County as Cases Spike Again

The Los Angeles Times (Jan. 2) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about a new rise in cases as hospitals are already in crisis from the Thanksgiving surge. “Given that persons will, hopefully, be traveling less and having fewer gatherings in their homes after these recent back-to-back holiday celebrations … we should begin to see some downturns in the disease rates by the end of January,” Kim-Farley said. “By late summer or early fall, we should be able to get back to a semblance of our life in the pre-COVID era with greatly reduced restrictions on our activities, businesses and schools.” It also ran on Yahoo, SFGate, and in the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Bakersfield Californian, Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, Santa Rosa (CA) Press-Democrat, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Miami Herald, Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer, and Wichita Eagle.

COVID-19: Viral Tsunami; Hospitals, Funeral Homes in Crisis

The Los Angeles Blade (Jan. 2) referenced Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the current rise in cases in southern California.

COVID-19: Year Ends With Record-Setting Month in U.S.

The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 1) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about the scale of the pandemic disaster. “We are clearly in the third wave of the pandemic in the United States, and it doesn’t show many signs of slowing down,” Shafir said. “Even if we see a plateau or even a decline in the next few days, it would be the end of January before we see the burden on hospitals lessen and deaths beginning to plateau.”

COVID-19: Medical Care Suffers Across Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles Times (Jan. 1) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about ripple effects from pandemic response that are harming operations and care across the medical network. “There’s no question in my mind that had we not had the stay-at-home order, the situation would be far more dire than it is now,” Kim-Farley said. “We should not be frozen in despair that there is nothing we can do.” It also ran in the Sacramento Bee, Bakersfield Californian, Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Wichita Eagle.

COVID-19: Army Corps of Engineers Will Aid Los Angeles Hospitals Facing Oxygen Problems

The Los Angeles Times (Jan. 1) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about plans by the Army Corps of Engineers to update oxygen-delivery systems at a handful of aging hospitals, where the demands have increased with the current increase in patients. “The magnitude of the numbers show that in the face of the stay-at-home order, many people are choosing to ignore it,” Kim-Farley said. “With no strong enforcement, these mixing of households and parties continue to occur.” It also ran in the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Bakersfield Californian, Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, Santa Rosa (CA) Press-Democrat, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Wichita Eagle, and Stars and Stripes.

COVID-19: How Life Will (and Won’t) Change After Vaccine

General Health (Jan. 1) quoted Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the near-term impact of the U.S. vaccination programs. “Given how long it will take to address those most in need, we will see no noticeable change for the near future, just because there isn’t enough vaccine to have any meaningful impact immediately,” Brewer said.

COVID-19: Compare the Surge in Southern California and the Bay Area

The San Francisco Chronicle (Dec. 31) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about why different parts of the state have felt the pandemic’s impact very differently, including southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. “I think we’re going to see another increase over the next couple of weeks because of the amplification occurring over the holidays,” Kim-Farley said. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines, but the tunnel is looking uglier and uglier to get through.”

COVID-19: New Year's Eve Events Cancelled Across U.S. as Cases Surge

The Guardian (Dec. 30) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the risk of infection on New Year’s Eve. “We are in a perfect storm of exposure occurring that can amplify the number of cases over the New Year’s Eve celebrations,” Kim-Farley said. “The risks are just so much higher.”

COVID-19: In South and West, Hospitalizations Keep Rising

The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 29) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about the increase in cases in southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. “We are already seeing hospitals ration care, urging people to stay home unless it is an absolute emergency,” Shafir said. “It is hard to imagine that it could get worse and yet, we know it likely will, particularly in light of the holiday gatherings that have happened.”

COVID-19: Southern California is Epicenter of Debate Over Religious Freedom During Pandemic

The Orange County Register (Dec. 29) interviewed Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about conflict between religious practices and public health protections during the pandemic. “Just because you have the right to do it, doesn't mean you should do it,” Mays said. “We may differ in our religious beliefs and how we worship, but in America, we see ourselves as a nation. We do certain things for the good of all. And that's what this issue comes to. We have our rights. But what is our moral imperative?” The story ran across all the Southern California News Group’s papers, including the Los Angeles Daily News, Riverside Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Whittier Daily News, Torrance (CA) Daily Breeze, Ontario-Pomona (CA) Daily Bulletin, and the Redlands Daily Facts. The story also ran in the three Spanish-language Excelsior papers, as well as The Best Times.

COVID-19: Why Isn’t More Vaccine Available Immediately?

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 28) interviewed Eugene Schneller, a professor of supply-chain management at Arizona State University and a visiting scholar at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “I don’t think we’ve seen anything quite on this scale,” Schneller said. “Although you’d like to have more ... I think we’ve done and are doing pretty well. The proof will be in the pudding of the consistency and quality of those vaccines as they come, and the integrity of the whole process.” It also ran on Yahoo, MSN, the Bakersfield Californian, Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, Wichita Eagle, and the Seattle Times.

COVID-19: December is a Disaster in California

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 28) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in California. The holidays are creating a “viral wildfire,” Kim-Farley said. It also ran in on MSN and SFGate, as well as the Bakersfield Californian and Solano County (CA) Daily Republic.

COVID-19: Outrage Over Planned New Year's Eve Gatherings as Los Angeles Faces Crush of Cases

The Guardian (Dec. 28) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in southern California. “We are in a perfect storm of exposure occurring that can amplify the number of cases over the New Year’s Eve celebrations,” Kim-Farley said. “The risks are just so much higher.”

COVID-19: Eviction Bans Keep Renters Home, Curb Spread

WebMD (Dec. 28) quoted Kathryn Leifheit, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health scholar, about the impact on infection and mortality rates of the expiration of a national ban on evictions. ““Our study shows state-level action is effective in preventing spread of COVID. Even barring action at the federal level, states can step in with their own moratoria,” Leifheit said.

COVID-19: Los Angeles Hospitals, Doctors, are “Hanging on by a Thread”

The Hill (Dec. 28) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic in California. “We’ve moved from having waves to now having a viral tsunami occurring here in Los Angeles,” Kim-Farley said. “You have to move to what they call surge procedures or protocols, which means turning off elective surgeries, it means changing the staff’s ratio of patients to nurses.

COVID-19: A New Post-Christmas Surge as Holidays Create ‘Viral Wildfire’

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 27) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about the increase in confirmed cases. “For many of us, it will be one of the most significant things in our lifetime,” Michels said. “It’ll be sometime until we’re through this, but we need to get through it together.” Also quoted were Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, and Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences. “I’m very concerned about the next two months,” Brewer said. Kim-Farley was cited in a related story in the Los Angeles Times, and one or both also ran on MSN, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Bakersfield Californian, Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, Seattle Times, Miami Herald, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Wichita Eagle, and the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer. A related item ran on KNBC-TV.

 

FEATURES (Other)

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

The ASPPH Friday Letter (Jan. 1) reported two items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty and staff experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included interviews by the BBC of Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, and by WebMD of Kathryn Leifheit, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health scholar.

Moving Due to Unaffordable Housing May Jeopardize Healthcare

MedicalXPress (Dec. 31) quoted Frederick Zimmerman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about his research, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, which found people who move due to unaffordable housing are at increased risk of failing to receive the medical care they need. “We were surprised to find that even people who moved within the same neighborhood for cost reasons experienced disruption of medical care,” Zimmerman said. And having a higher income did not insulate movers from the negative effects.” Co-authors include Dr. Joann Elmore, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, and Dr. Katherine L. Chen, with the Fielding School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. The research is based on data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), produced by the Fielding School's UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and led by Ninez Ponce. Similar items ran on News Medical, Health Medicine, Bioengineer, Sciencemag, Clinique Amberieu, Sound Health, MedIndia, News Colony, and Technology Times.

Novel Approaches to Management of Hyperkalaemia in Kidney Transplantation

Medscape (Dec. 31) published research by Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, from the journal Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, that found patiromer and sodium zirconium cyclosilicate may be attractive therapeutic options in chronic hyperkalaemia following kidney transplantation.

“Can Sipping Apple Cider Vinegar Really Cure All My Woes?”

MEL (Dec. 30) interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar. “There is some data to support that it acts as a digestif, improving digestion a little, and also as a slight appetite suppressant,” Hunnes said. “However, it’s quite acidic, so I don’t recommend drinking a ton of it to avoid getting an upset stomach. It can be pretty strong.”

Green Tea May Help You Lose Weight by Boosting Your Metabolism

The Insider (Dec. 29) interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about how green tea can help with weight loss. “The stimulant properties of the caffeine increase the oxidation rate within the cell's metabolism which .... increases the calories we burn,” Hunnes said.

Surgeons’ Birthdays May be Linked to Increased Risk for Patient Death

Healio (Dec. 28) interviewed Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa, UCLA Fielding School assistant professor of health policy and management, about his research published in the journal BMJ that found older people who undergo emergency surgeries on their operating surgeon’s birthday may be more likely to die within a month than patients who go through similar procedures on other days. “Our study was able to isolate the impact of these events on the performance of surgeons by exploiting the fact that patients usually do not know surgeons’ birthdays and hospital staffing remains unchanged on surgeons’ birthdays,” Tsugawa said. “Our findings suggest that surgeons’ performance may be affected on their birthday, as indicated by a higher patient mortality compared to patients treated by the same surgeon on other days of the year.” Similar items ran in Becker’s Hospital Review, Health Day, Medpage Today, StudyFinds, and the Daily Star (U.K).

The Many Different Ingredients in Tea That Help Boost Immunity

The Insider (Dec. 27) interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about whether teas can boost the immune system. “Tea may boost your immune system and may help fight various forms of cancer due to antioxidants and plant chemicals,” Hunnes said. “The amount in a single tea bag versus taking extract or a concentrated dose is very different … it is really challenging to say for sure that drinking these items as tea would be beneficial.” It also ran on Yahoo and MSN.

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