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News Archive

May 10, 2020 to May 16, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: “That would be if everything goes right”

MSNBC (May 14) 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, on the likelihood of a vaccine being available in the next two years. “The best case scenario is 12-18 months, the reality of it is (if) that would be if everything goes right.… I don’t think there has been an example of everything going right,” Rimoin said. “We do need to have optimism. We have good scientists. We have people who are working on this problem.”

COVID-19: Concern grows over "super-spreaders" infecting large numbers

CBS News (May 13) interviewed Zuo-Feng Zhang, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health epidemiologist and associate dean for research, on new research that shows a single "super-spreader" can infect large numbers of people with the coronavirus, and how contact tracing can assist in preventing further spread.  “As soon as we’ve identified the close contacts we can get those people isolated and stop the transmission,” Zhang said.

COVID-19: “If anybody is infected, (they) will be in contact with people who can be”

MSNBC (May 13, starts at 3:00) 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, on the risks of re-opening schools and colleges and the risks to children from the pandemic. “The risk isn’t just about death here; the risk is that children live with adults and live with people who can be infected with coronavirus, where we can have very serious results,” Rimoin said. “This isn’t just about the number of deaths in a particular population; it’s about how that this population as a whole intersects with the rest of the population. We really need to be looking at this in a holistic way.”

COVID-19: We cannot base what we are doing on hope

MSNBC (May 12) 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, on the implications of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s May 12 testimony before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “Dr. Fauci was able to communicate, very clearly, the things that are very important for people to understand. Number one, we still have a long way to go,” Rimoin said. “There is hope, but we cannot base what we are doing on hope, we need to base it on fact and on evidence and on science.” The story also ran on Yahoo News.

COVID-19: Testing needs are such that risks will remain

KPCC-FM (May 12, NPR affiliate, Los Angeles; begin at 03:50) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about multiple pandemic-related topics, including the possibility the U.S. could be performing 40,000 to 50,000 tests a month by September. “That doesn’t seem like it’s really a high enough number, according to the predictions,” Michels said. “It’s always a risk to open businesses.”

COVID-19: New UCLA study shows need for paid sick leave during pandemic

KNBC-TV (May 11) quoted Dr. Jody Heymann, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s WORLD Policy Analysis Center and a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy, and medicine, on a study she co-authored that shows that without paid sick leave, workers are 1.5 times more likely to come to work when they are ill. “It’s right at the center, between keeping us all healthy and keeping the economy functioning,” Heymann said. “We absolutely have to worry that this contributed to spread … Look at some of the countries that did very well, like Singapore. They have ample national paid sick leave policies from the first day of illness.” Results of the study, published by the journal Global Public Health, were also reported by News Medical, Healthcare Purchasing News, and Health News Digest, among others.

COVID-19: Reopening: Not business as usual

KPCC-FM (May 11, begins at 17:45, NPR affiliate, Los Angeles) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, on a wide variety of pandemic-related issues, including the progress of California’s re-opening plans. “It’s not going to be business as usual,” Kim Farley said. “Additional spacing will be needed between clients, wearing their face coverings, not having large numbers of people sitting in waiting rooms, disinfecting high touch surfaces, that sort of thing will be a part of this phase.”

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and on-line)

COVID-19: Wondering if L.A.’s new mask rules are overkill? Look at Hong Kong

The Los Angeles Times (May 16) 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, in a piece by columnist Steve Lopez about the importance of wearing masks in public. “I think people are missing the point of masks,” Rimoin said. “They’re not to protect you from someone else, they’re to protect someone else from you.… The science is pretty clear that if you can reduce droplet spread, you will reduce transmission. Along with social distancing and hand sanitizing, it’s another tool in the box.”

COVID-19: “Los Angeles offers virus tests to all, still has unused kits”

The Associated Press (May 16) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about the COVID-19 testing program offered by the City of Los Angeles, which is open to all Angelenos. “In a perfect world, you want to test the whole state, you want to test the whole country,” Michels said. “We don’t have enough test kits for everybody right now.” The story also quoted Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and professor of medicine at the David A. Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. It also ran in a wide variety of print, on-line, and broadcast outlets, including the New York Times, ABC News, US News & World Report, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, San Diego Union-Tribune, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Houston Chronicle, the Toronto Star, MSN News, KNX-AM (Los Angeles), KABC-TV (ABC affiliate, Los Angeles), KNBC-TV (NBC affiliate, Los Angeles), KTLA-TV (Los Angeles), and WLS-TV (ABC affiliate, Chicago).

COVID-19: “Really an outrageous claim”

Fox News (May 16) quoted Gerald Kominski, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management senior fellow at FSPH’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research on the claim that hospitals are reporting higher death counts for reimbursement purposes. “There’s an implication here that hospitals are over-reporting their COVID patients because they have an economic advantage of doing so, [which] is really an outrageous claim” Kominski said. “(It) is basically saying physicians are violating their Hippocratic Oath … it would be like providing heart surgery on someone who doesn’t need it.” The story ran on WITI-TV (Wisconsin).

COVID-19: “When everyone is in it together, the entire state is in it together”

The Los Angeles Times (May 16) interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and professor of medicine at the David A. Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, on differences between California’s rural and urban counties’ approaches to the pandemic. “People are probably of the mindset that when everyone is in it together, the entire state is in it together, they are willing to put up with it,” Klausner said. “What we are obviously seeing is this home confinement fatigue and people are just kind of irritated and anxious.” 

COVID-19: “Digital tools offer great immediacy and timeliness

Politico (May 16) interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and professor of medicine at the David A. Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, on the use of online tools fopr contact tracing. “These digital tools offer great immediacy and timeliness,” Klausner said. “When the person gets their test results, they can begin the contact notification process within minutes.”

COVID-19: “Drive to reopen auto plants in North America threatens thousands of lives”

The WSWS Autoworker News (May 16) interviewed Julia Heck, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct associate professor of epidemiology, on risks to employees of the Big Three automakers at their manufacturing plants re-open. ““From the perspective of an epidemiologist, the goal is to preserve life,” Heck said. “Undoubtedly, reopening the economy more broadly is going to result in more cases of COVID-19 and more death … if there was widespread rapid testing, that could be a key to reopening also, but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon any time soon.”

COVID-19: “Friction between White House, CDC hobbles pandemic response”

The Washington Post (May 15) interviewed Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on the Trump administration’s relationship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and apparent tensions between White House staff and the public health agency, including a $10.2 million, non-competitive contract for disease reporting awarded to a private sector firm. “(It is) unprecedented that you’d set up a competing system separate from the CDC,” Jackson said. “To set up a competing process to do this would appear to really undermine the CDC.” The story also ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

COVID-19: “Time to end zombie arguments against paid sick leave”

CNN Opinion (May 15) published a commentary co-authored by Dr. Jody Heymann, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s WORLD Policy Analysis Center and a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy, and medicine, on the role paid sick leave could play in reducing the pandemic’s spread. “Paid sick leave is the only way all workers in America can afford to stay home when they are sick and not spread the novel coronavirus to others,” Heymann and her co-author, Brigid Schulte, a former Washington Post staff writer, wrote. “The costs of not providing paid sick leave are what we can't afford. Workers without paid sick leave are 1.5 times more likely to go to work when ill, reducing productivity and spreading disease.” It also ran on WICU/WSEE (Pennsylvania), the World News, and headtopics, while a similar story ran as an interview on the New America Better Life Lab podcast.

COVID-19: Road to recovery may not be a straight line

The Los Angeles Times (May 15) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about how to remain safe if physical distancing restrictions are lifted. “We’re all going to have to be looking at the spectrum of risk and reward from an individual level to ultimately a societal level,” Kim-Farley said. “The road to recovery won’t necessarily be a straight line. At some point, if cases of the virus start to increase too quickly, we might revert back to a previous stage of the road map, which could include having to cancel your party plans.” The story also ran on MSN News.

COVID-19: No estimating without testing and good public health surveillance

Global Health Now (May 15) interviewed UCLA Fielding School of Public Health dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer  about the efficacy of estimating the number of actual cases in a community based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. “Not reliably, because the number of tests affects the number of confirmed cases: If you do more tests, you’ll find more cases,” Brookmeyer said. “So, what do we do? We need good public health surveillance. We need to take representative samples of the community and test them. That’s the best way to get reliable estimates.

COVID-19: UCLA contact tracing academy “vital for reopening the state of California”

Wired (May 15) reported on UCLA’s creation of a 20-hour contact tracing “virtual training academy,” a joint project of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA Extension, to help California reach the goal of having 20,000 tracers at its disposal, by ramping up from 550 trainees this week to 3,000 per week from now through to July. “It’s vital for reopening the state of California,” said Eric Bullard, dean of continuing education and UCLA Extension. Related stories ran in the San Francisco Chronicle and KCBS-TV (Los Angeles affiliate) in the United States, and the Straits Times (Singapore).

COVID-19: “GOP governors to locals: open up—or else”

The Daily Beast (May 15) interviewed UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology Dr. Timothy Brewer about how state and local health directors have been subjected to political backlash from for extending physical distancing restrictions this month. “I think it’s very unfortunate that this pandemic is exacerbating political partisan differences," Brewer said. “And it’s unfortunate that we all haven’t been as active as possible to try to get beyond that and come together as a nation to address what really is a global public health crisis. It is too bad that we haven’t been able to put the politics behind us."

COVID-19: UCLA Fielding School of Public Health efforts spotlighted in ASPPH Friday Letter

The ASPPH Friday Letter (May 15) reported eight items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health experts and FSPH efforts related to the pandemic. Under “Preparedness and Response,” these included a study led by Dr. Jody Heymann, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s WORLD Policy Analysis Center and a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy, and medicine, published in Global Public Health; and a report on COVID-19 case rates by David E. Hayes-Bautista, professor in the Fielding School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, and Paul Hsu, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the Fielding School. Under “Members in the News,” it listed a May 5 Wall Street Journal interview of UCLA Fielding School of Public Health dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer and a May 8 Guardian interview of Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Under COVID-19-related “Academic Resources and Tools, the Letter listed the Breaking the Chain Armenian-language database, while under non-pandemic-related “Member Research And Reports,” it listed Will our clean air last after COVID-19?, spotlighting a study led by Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs at FSP. Under “School and Program Updates,” it listed the May 20 "Health at Risk: Policies Are Needed to End Cigarette, Marijuana, and E-cigarette Secondhand Smoke in Multi-Unit Housing in Los Angeles" policy seminar, while under “Faculty and Staff Honors,” the Letter listed Robert Weiss, professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, who was recognized by two prestigious professional societies in the space of a month for outstanding contributions to his field.

COVID-19: How to help workers and stay safe through the pandemic

Good Housekeeping (May 14) interviewedDr. Jonathan FieldingUCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, on how consumers can be safe and protect the service workers and professionals they deal with during the pandemic, including always wearing a properly fitted mask or face covering. “This will help keep everyone around you safe,” Fielding said. “(And) wash your hands immediately after taking off your PPE … rather than taking it off in the parking lot, it's best if you can wait and take it off at home." The story also ran on Yahoo News.

COVID-19: Vaccines - the usual ethical questions in unusual times

Medical Ethics Advisor (May 14) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct associate professor of epidemiology, on the ethical issues surrounding development of a vaccine, including informed consent, protection of human subjects, and the fairness of testing and its eventual distribution. “It needs to be made very clear to participants that they are participating in the vaccine trial as a service to society, and not the potential protection of self,” said Shafir, who also serves as faculty assistant vice chancellor for research ethics. “If we loosen the science that we allow, and we do an end run around best practices in order to try and get a vaccine to market, what we may end up doing is bringing a vaccine that’s neither safe nor effective.”

COVID-19: Less meat in supermarkets? Other tasty ways to get your protein

Consumer Reports (May 14) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on how consumers can deal with shortages of beef, pork, or poultry. “As a general rule, the scientific evidence shows that eating meat is actually deleterious to health,” Hunnes said. “Many studies show that whole-foods, plant-based diets promote health (and) lower the risk for chronic diseases—diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancers—than diets that contain meat- or animal-based products.”

COVID-19: Risks, Rewards of Reopening

Rafu Shimpo (May 14) quoted David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, about reopening plans and the pandemic’s impact on ethnic communities in the U.S. “I think they have way underestimated the rates because a lot of communities do not have access to healthcare,” Hayes Bautista said. “The Liberate Michigan movement wants to get rid of all the protection measures and yet they have four times the case rate of California. It would appear that they are not at a place in the curve where that makes sense. This is political pressure by those who are not as impacted to relax the protective measures.”

COVID-19: How UCLA has responded

The Daily Bruin (May 14) interviewed Dr. Roger Detels, distinguished research professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, for a commentary on how the university has dealt with the pandemic. “We had lots of warning in the United States about this virus, and we really did not get started on intervention and management of the epidemic until very, very late,” Detels said. “I think UCLA actually responded pretty well once they recognized that they were dealing with a highly infectious disease and that a university was an ideal setting for rapid spread of the epidemic – they took action by going virtual.”

COVID-19: UCLA faculty providing expertise to Armenia

MassisPost (May 14) reported that Alina Dorian, associate dean for public health practice at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Dr. Shant Shekherdimian, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are providing advice and working to deliver medical equipment to Armenia and Nagorno-Karbakh. “Epidemiologically, there will be a quiet period after the first wave of the pandemic, then a resurgence,” Dorian said. “Many infectious diseases of this type have three waves, but every day we are finding out just how COVID-19 will roll out.”

COVID-19: Housing for the homeless

The Connecticut Mirror (May 14) published a commentary citing research co-authored by Randall Kuhn, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of community health sciences, on the impact of the pandemic on the homeless.

COVID-19: An open letter from scientists across the globe calls for use of fabric masks

The Hindu (May 14, English language, India) printed a commentary signed by more than 100 scientists and academics from around the world advising the public to wear fabric masks to stop the spread of the pandemic. The signatories include Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health; Dr. Marc Suchard, FSPH professor of biostatistics; and Christina Ramirez, FSPH professor of biostatistics. The letter cites “Face Masks Against COVID-19: An Evidence Review,” a summary of existing literature on the subject, currently in preprint. Rimoin and Ramirez are both among the co-authors. The commentary also ran in World News.

COVID-19: SAG-AFTRA taps UCLA health expert to assist on re-opening safely

Variety (May 13) quoted Dr. Jonathan FieldingUCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, in a story reportinghe will serve as an advisor to the 160,000-strong Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) on the union’s response to the pandemic. “COVID-19 remains a most serious health threat to all those who want and need to return to work. Therefore developing guidelines to safeguard people’s health as they work is a critical element of reopening this important industry,” Fielding stated. The story ran on Yahoo News, and similar items ran on Deadline, the News Trace, Shoot, News Lagoon, and the Patch (Hollywood and Pacific Palisades editions).

COVID-19: Is the curve flattening?

LAist (May 13) referenced David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, in a piece on how the pandemic has reflected pre-existing health inequities.

COVID-19: “America’s pathetic sick leave policies are killing our coronavirus response”

The Los Angeles Times (May 12) interviewed Dr. Jody Heymann, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s WORLD Policy Analysis Center and a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy, and medicine, in a piece by business columnist Michael Hiltzik about a study she co-authored that shows that with paid sick leave, workers are more likely to not go to work when they are ill. “When people are out because they are so gravely ill that they would never go to work, (sick leave benefits) ensure that they have an economic safety net. That’s obviously crucial,” Heymann said. “But it also means that people who have mild symptoms of infectious diseases, but could readily spread it to others who might get severely ill, will stay home.” The Times piece included two maps created by the WORLD staff, and also ran on Yahoo Finance, in the Las Vegas Sun, and on Press Stories. Results of the study, published by the journal Global Public Health were also reported by KNBC-TV (NBC affiliate, Los Angeles), and the aggregators News Medical, Healthcare Purchasing News, Health News Digest, Press Insider Daily, Phys.org, Rocket News, nouvelles-du-monde, and World News, among others.

COVID-19: UCLA FSPH alumnus named acting commissioner of public health in Connecticut

The Hartford Courant (May 12) reported that Dr. Deidre Gifford, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health alumnus (MPH, 1994), has been named acting commissioner of public health by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont as part of the state’s strategy to deal with the pandemic. Gifford had served Lamont as commissioner of social services since May, 2010. Gifford is a graduate of Cornell University Medical College and trained in obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals of Cleveland and the UCLA Medical Center. She also did post-graduate work in health service research at UCLA. The move was also reported by the New York Times and multiple other media outlets in Connecticut and New York.

COVID-19: We need a different strategy for testing

MedPage Today (May 12) published a commentary co-authored by Robert Kaplan, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Health Policy and Management, on a coherent national testing strategy in the U.S. “We need a strategy to figure it out so that we can prevent more illness and death and get Americans back to work,” Kaplan and his co-authors, Dr. Kevin Winthrop of Oregon Health & Science University and Dr. Michael Weisman of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, wrote. “Time is slipping. Let’s not let more weeks pass before we will develop testing capacity to meet both clinical and public health needs.” The commentary also ran on Awesome Capital.

COVID-19: Universal access is not the same as equitable access

The Daily Bruin (May 12) quoted Nina Harawa, professor-in-residence of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the David M. Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and FSPH professor of epidemiology Dr. Timothy Brewer, in a column on the need for expanded testing across Los Angeles County. “In areas where there are more African Americans in particular, those areas tend to be more crowded – they tend to be poorer,” Brewer said. “They tend to have fewer health care facilities, and the health care facilities tend to be of lesser quality than in high-income areas.”

COVID-19: Lockdown causes drop in South Africa’s air pollution

The Daily Dispatch (May 12, South Africa) referenced findings by Zuo-Feng Zhang, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health epidemiologist and associate dean for research, about the impact air pollution may have on the pandemic, including Zhang’s research into the 2003 SARS pandemic.

COVID-19: Advancing the role of buildings in protecting health

The Fort Smith (AR) Times Record (May 11) referenced Dr. Jonathan FieldingUCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and managementin an item that cited a task force to research the health burden from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. Fielding serves as co-chair of the panel, formed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). The item was also picked up by BusinessGhana.

COVID-19: Those heroic nurses

The Columbia (TN) Daily Herald (May 11) referenced Dr. Linda Rosenstock, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, in a column about the public’s favorable opinion of nurses during the pandemic. The column also ran in The Oakridger.

 

 

FEATURES (Other)

Most nutritious yogurt?

Mel (May 15) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on the best choices, from a nutrition standpoint, of common yogurts. “Fermented products, excluding alcohol, tend to have a lot of health benefits due to the healthy bacteria and yeasts used in the process,” Hunnes said. “One thing you have to keep in mind with non-dairy yogurts is that they may have extra sugars in them.”

 

BRIEFS

An article in Mirage News (May 12) cites data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey on the number of Medi-Cal patients in need of a primary care provider. The data was used in a study conducted by UC Davis on gaps in Medi-Cal coverage for residents of Yolo County.

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