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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of April 19, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
April 19, 2020 to April 25, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19, broadcast)

COVID-19: Misinformation makes pandemic fight “even harder”

CNN (April 25) 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 misinformation regarding possible treatments coming from the White House. “It is very damaging,” Rimoin said. “It is going to make it even harder for all of us to do what we need to do to be able to attack the virus … instead of what we need to fight, we are fighting misinformation. That is a really big problem.”

COVID-19: Antibody testing does not tell us who is immune

CNN (April 25) 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 significance of antibody testing. “Antibody tests are important,” Rimoin said. “(Serologic surveys) tells you a lot about transmission and who has been infected to date, but it does not tell us who is immune, and there are some very big questions about immunity, if having antibodies means you are immune, how long those antibodies might last, and if people can get re-infected.”

COVID-19: Vaccine trials begin but production and use still months away

KPCC-FM (April 24, starts at 19:50; 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 Phase 1 trials for vaccines beginning in April. “These are small numbers of cases, maybe about 50 persons being entered into these trials just to make sure the vaccine is safe,” Kim-Farley said. “Once you have a vaccine that is both safe and effective, you have to be able to gear up for production (and) to be able to have it ready for mass production is a different issue.”

COVID-19: Testing and the road to re-opening

MSNBC (April 23) 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 scale of the U.S. response to the pandemic. “If we did have a Manhattan Project type of situation, we’d be doing better,” Rimoin said. “We need everything, and we need to be hitting it on all fronts.”

COVID-19: Pandemic makes plain the realities of health inequality

The Spectrum One (April 23) flagship “Inside the Issues” program interviewed Chandra Ford, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health and associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, on data from public health officials that shows African Americans suffering at a higher rate than other races. “We’re talking about a virus that target the lungs and so an immediate concern is the long-standing and well-documented tendency to place environmental hazards, pollutants, in poor and racial ethnic minority communities of color,” Ford said. “Living close to an air polluter, will make it worse for people who live in those areas.”

COVID-19: We do not know where we stand in this epidemic

MSNBC (April 22) 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 failures of the national response to the pandemic. “We do not have a national testing strategy; we do not have tests available for everybody; we do not have PPE available for everybody; we do not have any idea where we are on the curve,” Rimoin said. “We do not know where we stand in this epidemic. It would be really great if we began talking about how we are going to attack this nationally.”

COVID-19: It’s time to wait

CNN (April 22) 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 best advice from public health experts for elected decision makers. “If I were providing advice to the governor, I would say it’s time to wait,” Rimoin said. “We don’t have the testing in place, we don’t have the ability to do the contact tracing we need to do, and we just do not have all the things in place that meet all the criteria that is needed to reopen … we really risk losing all the gains that everybody has worked so hard to achieve.”

COVID-19: Pandemic and the flu? A 1-2 punch

ABC News (April 21) interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of community health sciences and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, on the potential combination of flu season and a COVID-19 outbreak. “The flu plus COVID-19 at the same time is a one-two punch, so we’re lucky, this year the COVID-19 arrived in March, which was the end of the flu season,” Eisenman said. “Imagine having a second respiratory virus that looks just like the flu, coming around at the same time … everybody is going to need both a flu test and a COVID-19 test.”

COVID-19: We’ve never seen this before in our lifetimes

CSPAN (April 20; starts at 36:30) 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 flagship “Washington Journal” program. “This is a novel virus, and so we’re learning about it in real time,” Rimoin said. “We’ve never seen anything like this before in our lifetimes … it’s a very, very difficult situation.”

COVID-19: What does immunity mean, and for how long?

CNN (April 20) 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 multiple questions, including whether antibody tests demonstrate immunity, and how that should influence the question of relaxing physical distancing restrictions. “The antibody tests that are rolling out everywhere tell you if you’ve been exposed to the virus, if you may have been sick with the virus, but it tells you nothing about whether or not you have immunity to the virus, whether or not you can fight off another infection,” Rimoin said. “At UCLA right now, we’re looking at if you get infected, does that produce immunity? … and if you are immune to this virus, how does that immunity last? We don’t know.”

COVID-19: We need more testing

KTLA-TV (April 20, Los Angeles television) 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 testing kits, results and potential immunity. “The key to getting back to business and opening up our economy is going to be making sure that we know who is infected, and who is immune, and if we see flare-ups so we can act quickly,” Rimoin said. “And if someone is negative today they could be positive tomorrow, so just having a test onetime for many populations is not going to be enough.”

COVID-19: Opening up the country right now is too soon

The BBC (April 19) 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 question of relaxing physical distancing restrictions. “Because of the lack of testing here in the United States, we don’t know where we are on the curve,” Rimoin said. “Opening up the country right now is somewhat premature … it’s just a little too soon.”

COVID-19: California’s lessons for Australia

Sky News (April 18, Australian television) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, on the lessons California’s fight against the pandemic hold for Australia. “We’ve actually had much fewer cases than the modelers expected us to see in California, because of this early action,” Kim-Farley said. “We really were on a very steep curve and now we’ve been able to flatten it a bit … (we can’t relax restrictions until) when we know the community (infection) levels are very low, and we have sufficient public health capacity to test people, identify cases, and make sure they get isolated.” The story was also broadcast by Channel 9 News, also in Australia.

 

FEATURES (COVID-19, text and on-line)

COVID-19: 80 percent of American food service workers have no paid sick leave

Forbes (April 25) 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 health policy and management, on the issue of paid sick leave and the pandemic. “If you don't have sick leave, you're twice as likely to send your child to school or daycare sick,” Heymann said. “You're 1 1/2 times as likely, even when you feel sick yourself and are contagious, to go to work sick.”

COVID-19: UCLA professor part of state task force

The Fallbrook & Bonsall Village News (April 25, Fallbrook, CA) interviewed James R. Greenwood, associate adjunct professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about his involvement in a state testing task force. “There’s two kinds of tests; there’s the PCR test that looks for the virus and then there’s the antibody test which they’re just starting to roll out now for if somebody has been previously infected and has immunity,” Greenwood said. “The governor right now is trying to get to the stage where there will be 50,000 tests a day.”

COVID-19: Face shields may be better protection than masks alone

The Los Angeles Times (April 24) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, on whether face shields would be helpful for those who come in contact with lots of people every day. “A face shield would be a very good approach that one could consider in settings where you’re going to be a cashier or something like this with lots of people coming by,” Kim-Farley said. The story also ran on MSN, the Bakersfield Californian, and the Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail.

COVID-19: “Drive-in games? Sparse crowds? They could be part of sports’ new normal”

The Los Angeles Times (April 24) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, on whether professional and college sports can play during the pandemic. “People enjoy being in a stadium, I get that … it’s possible, but the experience will be different,” Michels said. “On the whole, people are responsible … but fans must understand that if they don’t play by the rules, it will be back to watching on television.” The story also ran in the Peoria (IL) Star.

COVID-19: UCLA expert confirms you should definitely not drink or inject disinfectants

Los Angeles Magazine (April 24) interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of community health sciences and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, on the safety of injecting bleach to fight the coronavirus. “This is why we have poison control centers,” Eisenman said. “I can’t believe we’re even talking about this, but this president never stops astounding us. There is no scientific basis for injecting disinfectants into your body. It’s a poison and it’s incredibly dangerous.”

COVID-19: UCLA expert confirms UV-C radiation is harmful and exposure increases the risk of skin cancer

The Daily Beast (April 24) interviewed UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology Dr. Timothy Brewer on the risks of ultraviolet light to human health. “I am not aware of any way to or evidence for safely shining ultraviolet light within a person to treat infections,” Brewer said. “Ultraviolet light is used as a disinfectant for surfaces and materials such as empty hospital rooms, but to my knowledge it is not safe for use on or in people.” Brewer was also quoted on Hotair.com.

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

The ASPPH Friday Letter (April 24) reported four items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health experts and the pandemic. These included the initial "Fielding Focus" Public Health in a Pandemic: COVID-19 & Health Care Management"webinar, set for April 28 and moderated by Leah J. Vriesman, executive director of FSPH’s executive education programs in Health Policy and Management. Under the category of “Academic Resources and Tools,” the Letter included the COVID-19: Breaking the Chain of Infection database, which includes information related to the pandemic  in seven languages created by a team led by Anne Pebley, professor of community health sciences; while under “Members in the News,” the Letter spotlighted a CNN interview of 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, and a LA This Week” interview of Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences.

COVID-19: Los Angeles County’s testing capacity catching up, but response worries public health officials

The Los Angeles Daily News (April 23) interviewed Chandra Ford, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health and associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, on data suggesting disparities among the region’s different communities. “Part of what the data reveal so far is disparities in death, not just disparities in diagnosis or accessing care,” Ford said. “The fact that disparities reflect actual deaths is very concerning. It suggests substantial issues at multiple stages of the care continuum.”

COVID-19: Stimulus checks for undocumented individuals

USA Today (April 23) cited information provided by Steven P. Wallace, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences and associate director of FSPH’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, in a previous interview on undocumented individuals and stimulus checks. “When undocumented immigrants work with a SS number, it is either fake or someone else’s,” Wallace said.

COVID-19: Will the pandemic come back stronger in the winter?

The Los Angeles Times (April 23) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, on a possible “second wave” to the pandemic later this year. “It’s possible that this second wave won’t even wait until the fall — it could be that simply we relax our physical distancing too soon,” Kim-Farley said. “We may have to, from time to time, re-impose a few physical distancing measures to make sure that we continue to beat it back.” Kim-Farley’s points were also referenced in the TimesCoronavirus Today newsletter.

COVID-19: California’s ambitious testing goals face supply shortages

The Associated Press (April 23) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, on the hurdles that face an expanded testing program in California. “If tomorrow we switch to 70,000 (tests), then it still takes 20 months to test everybody once,” Michels said, referring to all 40 million Californians. “If you tell me 25,000 by the end of the month, well the end of the month is next week. They need to go higher.”

COVID-19: Tracing the indirect deaths

Direct Relief (April 23) interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of community health sciences and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, on how many people were killed by the pandemic, whether directly or indirectly. “We are seeing reports now that there is excess mortality in cities around the world, beyond what is directly attributable to COVID-19,” he said. “We’ll need a lot more information, but it is completely consistent with every other disaster.”

COVID-19: Low-wage workers are particularly vulnerable

The Daily Bruin (April 23) interviewed Nadereh Pourat, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of health policy and management and associate director at the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, on the pandemic’s impact on low wage workers. “Restaurants and stores are unable to operate in the same way they did before, so the workers in these businesses are either laid off or their jobs are severely restricted,” Pourat said. “We have people that might be infected, but aren’t getting tested due to this worry and fear … so there’s this ripple effect of having policies that don’t really work well for the overall public health and well-being of everyone – and then us feeling the dire consequences of this as a society.”

COVID-19: Blood-pressure drugs subject of COVID-19 research

Reuters (April 23) referenced a study led by Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, examining whether common blood pressure drugs, known as ACE inhibitors and ARBs, have an impact on the health of COVID-19 patients. Suchard said the study aims to determine whether the medicines make infections more likely or more severe - or, by contrast, whether they help protect against the virus. Suchard said he expects a preliminary report within two weeks. The story also ran in Haaretz and JapanToday.

COVID-19: The virus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt may assist researchers

The Washington Post (April 23) interviewed UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology Dr. Timothy Brewer on whether research into the health of the crew of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, especially given the relative youth and fitness of sailors, may improve understanding of COVID-19 generally. “The more and exact data you have, the better you can interpret it and come up with conclusions,” Brewer said. The story also ran in Stars and Stripes and the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.

COVID-19: Ending physical distancing increases the chances of further spread

The Daily Beast (April 23) interviewed UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology Dr. Timothy Brewer on the risks of relaxing the physical distancing measures currently in place in the U.S. “As the number of people at risk for new infections decreases, so too does the chance for ongoing or increased COVID-19 transmission once the shelter-in-place orders are relaxed,” said Brewer, who added that maintaining shelter-in-place orders is important to prevent transmission within a given community, some of which are “struggling to meet the healthcare needs of COVID patients with severe or critical disease.”

COVID-19: “Predictions About Where the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Going Vary Widely. Can Models Be Trusted?”

The Los Angeles Times (April 22) published an op-ed by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer  explaining different types of prediction models used in public health forecasting, including the current pandemic. “Predictive modeling is one of the tools that will influence the decisions policymakers will make about when and how to reopen our society, so we need to be critical consumers of them,” wrote Brookmeyer, a professor of biostatistics. “Builders of these models need to be transparent about their models’ assumptions, strengths and weaknesses, and make clear what purpose they are best used for. A little clarity can go a long way as we try to navigate our way out of this pandemic.” The op-ed was also published by the Charlotte (NC) Observer, San Luis Obispo (CA) Telegram-Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bloomington (IL) Herald & Review, Bradenton (FL) Herald, and Grays Harbor (WA) Daily World.

COVID-19: Rural California may begin a slow and gradual reopening process

The Los Angeles Times (April 22) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, on the next steps in California’s pandemic response, including potential relaxation of some physical distancing restrictions. “So if they start to take away some of these physical distancing measures, they have some room, if you will, to start a little bit of [coronavirus] growth upwards without overloading their system,” Kim-Farley said. The story also ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Fresno Bee.

COVID-19: What is herd immunity and why does it matter in the fight?

The Los Angeles Times (April 22) interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of community health sciences and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, on herd immunity. “The idea of herd immunity is you don’t have to immunize everybody,” Eisenman said. “Those people who are not immunized gain protection just by the fact that they have less of a chance of coming into contact with it.” The piece also ran in the Fresno Bee, Charlotte Observer, Wichita Eagle, and Seacoast (Portsmouth, NH), as well as MSN.

COVID-19: “Asian Americans already face a mental health crisis. Coronavirus racism could make it worse.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer (April 22) interviewed Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, on bias and scapegoating of Asian Americans during the pandemic. “When people are treated unfairly, it can create a stress response called allostatic load,” Gee said. “Allostatic load can impair the body in many ways, such as weakening our immune systems.” The story also ran in MedicalXpress and the Finger Lakes (NY) Times.

COVID-19: Outbreak is growing in Skid Row. Are shelters safe?

Curbed LA (April 22) interviewed Randall Kuhn, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of community health sciences, on the issue of safety for the population of homeless and similar shelters in the pandemic. “We’re not sure the shelters are safe,” said Kuhn, who called the pandemic a “wakeup call” to provide housing for the homeless. “It’s unfortunate that the wakeup call is coming at a time when shelters might not be the answer.”

COVID-19: More swabs alone won’t solve California’s test gap

CalMatters (April 22) interviewed James R. Greenwood, associate adjunct professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on shortages of supplies and testing experts necessary for the California to increase testing. “You get these highly trained people and particularly the smaller counties don’t want to or can’t come up with the salaries. So some of these labs closed because they couldn’t find a director,” Greenwood said. “When you lose a quarter of your capacity in your local labs, you’ve really done damage to the system.”

COVID-19: Immunity may not last

The San Jose Mercury News (April 22) interviewed Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, adjunct professor of epidemiology, on the question of whether immunity to the diseases would last after an infection. “As an analogy, the common cold has no vaccine, no long-lasting immunity — we can get several colds a year — and no cure, which may be the emerging bitter reality in dealing with COVID-19,” Kalantar-Zadeh said.

COVID-19: Pandemic spotlights food deserts in the U.S.

USA Today (April 22) interviewed Michael Prelip, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences, on the problems the pandemic has caused to food supply in the U.S. "COVID-19 is really exposing some of the limitations or frailty of the food system in general," Prelip said.

COVID-19: Tipping point to lower drug prices, share patents?

Bloomberg Law (April 22) interviewed Randall Kuhn, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of community health sciences, on the potential impact of the pandemic on the pharmaceutical industry. “If (drug makers) try to hold back these treatments, you will simply kill the golden goose,” Kuhn said. “You would not be able to defend the patent anywhere, and you would threaten the entire patent system.”

COVID-19: “To Reopen the Economy for Good, Invest in a Preventive Health Workforce”

The Hill (April 21) published a commentary by Dr. Jody Heymann, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) and a UCLA distinguished professor of health policy and management, and Aleta Sprague, senior legal analyst at WORLD, advocating for a national cohort of health workers: “… as Congress takes up a fourth stimulus package, strengthening our public health infrastructure — including the human infrastructure — should be a priority.”

COVID-19: Pay individuals to take a test?

The New York Times (April 21) interviewed Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, on the need to sample a wide population, even those who don’t have symptoms, to be able to make valid judgments about how far the pandemic has spread. “As the virus becomes more and more prevalent across countries, such testing will become critical. “What is the probability that if I go to the store I will become infected?” Suchard said. “You can’t nail that down without knowing the underlying rate of infection.”

COVID-19: Antimalarials heighten risk of cardiac arrest, studies find

Science (April 21) referenced a study co-authored by Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, which found a person’s risk of heart failure in the month after starting hydroxychloroquine was comparable to the risk from starting another common arthritis drug, sulfasalazine. But in the month after adding azithromycin to hydroxychloroquine, the risk of cardiovascular death more than doubled, the researchers found. The work, currently in preprint, was posted on 10 April.

COVID-19: City of Los Angeles funding for UCLA study?

The Los Angeles Daily News (April 21) reported that the Los Angeles City Council has agendized a motion that could lead to city financial support for the “University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative, and possible funding opportunities.” The UCLA effort is led by 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.

COVID-19: Hospital payments and death rates

FactCheck.org (April 21) interviewed 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.”

COVID-19: Tijuana’s hospitals under pressure and understaffed

The Los Angeles Times (April 20) ) interviewed Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, about the pandemic’s impact on hospitals in Baja California, including the city of Tijuana. “This pandemic revealed chronic under-investment in the public health system,” Vargas Bustamante said. 

COVID-19: Study suggests hundreds of thousands in Los Angeles County may have been infected

The Los Angeles Times (April 20) interviewed Dr. Paul Simon, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct professor of epidemiology and chief science officer and director of the Division of Assessment, Planning, and Quality at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, on the results of the first large-scale study tracking the spread of the coronavirus in the county. “If this mortality were to continue for the whole year — we hope it doesn’t, but if it did — COVID would be the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County,” Simon said.

COVID-19: Physical distancing works, but how long should it last?

China Daily (April 20) interviewed Dr. Jonathan Fielding, UCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, on the need to keep social distancing measures in place. “It factors in importantly the physical distancing measures that are absolutely essential," Fielding said. "And it's important that we keep everybody compliant with these measures if we don't want things to get worse."

COVID-19: Researchers say a half million Los Angeles County residents could have had coronavirus

The Los Angeles Daily News (April 20) also quoted Dr. Paul Simon, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct professor of epidemiology and chief science officer and director of the Division of Assessment, Planning, and Quality at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, on the possibility more frequent antibody testing could help loosen and tighten restrictions over time, a kind of “dance that might have to occur over 12 months,”

COVID-19: Racism is the other virus during this pandemic

The Chicago Tribune (April 20) published an op-ed by Julie Morita, M.D., executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that referenced the work of Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, on bias and scapegoating of Asian Americans during the pandemic.

COVID-19: What models can and can’t do

CalMatters (April 20) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, on the disease forecasting models currently in use, and how much they depend on reliable data to provide useful predictions. “Right now we don’t know how many people are infected,” Michels said. “The biggest unknown (for disease models) is the denominator. How many people out of the infected are actually dying or wind up in the ICU? We have no idea at this point.” The piece also ran on CapRadio and in the Ukiah Daily Journal, and a similar story ran on Fox.

COVID-19: Latinos disproportionately hit by coronavirus

The Guardian (April 18) interviewed Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, on the impact of the pandemic on Latinos in the U.S. “Think about who had access to the testing, and who’s getting into the hospitals,” Hayes-Bautista said. “The problems aren’t genetic … they are structural.”

COVID-19: Discrimination can be damaging to physical health

The Sacramento Bee (April 17) reported on the work of Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, on bias and scapegoating of Asian Americans during the pandemic. “In the context of COVID-19, it is possible that (someone) encountering discrimination may be more likely to be ill,” Gee said. “That could worsen the pandemic for everybody. People who’ve encountered discrimination make them less likely to see the doctor because they are just too afraid to get out, and that makes it worse for everybody.”

COVID-19: Existing health inequalities are demonstrated in pandemic mortality rates

Afro.com (April 17) quoted Chandra Ford, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health and associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, on data from public health officials that shows African Americans dying at a higher rate than other races. “The disparities that are emerging reveals that the inequalities that already exist in our society and that we have chosen to leave unaddressed are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in black, indigenous and other people of color communities and the socioeconomically marginalized communities,” Ford said. The article also ran on The Christian Post.

 

FEATURES (Other)

UCLA expert quoted regarding World Malaria Day

Republic World (April 24, India) quoted Jared Diamond, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the costs of a global effort against malaria and other diseases. “AIDS and malaria and TB are national security issues,” Diamond said. “A worldwide program to get a start on dealing with these issues would cost about $25 billion. It's what, a few months in Iraq?”

Food labels can be misleading

MedPage (April 21) quoted Dr. Natalie Muth, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences, on misleading labelling of food products. “We encourage parents to use nutrition labels to make healthy choices for their children,” Muth said. “Too often food packagers and marketers provide misleading information on labels, including pictures of fruits in products that actually contain little or no fruit, or front-of-package boasts of containing many vitamins and nutrients, which could be the case but is countered by very high amounts of sugars."

JAMA study examines side effects of blood pressure medications

Drugwatch (April 20) reported on a study co-authored by Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, examining potential risks of two diuretics commonly used to treat high blood pressure. The study was originally published in the February edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Suchard’s co-authors include Dr. George Hripcsak and Dr. Steven Shea, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University Medical Center.

How nations respond to crisis

ABC-Radio’s “The Science Show” (April 19, Australia, starts at 28:10) interviewed Jared Diamond, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about his latest book, Upheaval: How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change, which reviews how nation states have responded to crises, whether political, economic, civil, or ecological. “Australia is the continent with the most variable and unpredictable climate; Australia is the continent most exposed to climate disasters,” Diamond said. “One would expect that if Australians were acting in their own interest, Australians would take most seriously climate change.” Diamond’s work was also cited in the National Interest, the Spinoff Weekly, and the Bennington (VT) Banner.

Eating food after the sell-by dates

Buzzfeed (April 11) interviewed Catherine Carpenter, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct professor of epidemiology, on the safety of eating food after the sell-by dates. “The whole idea about providing dates was actually a movement started by consumers in the ‘70s, and the food industry picked up on this” Carpenter said. “It’s been quite successful as far as giving consumers a timeframe as to make sure the food will be fresh, but on the other side, it’s also causing a lot of food waste.”

 

BRIEFS

An NBC 4 News (Los Angeles) article cites data from a recent study conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science on census federal funding and the impact of an undercount on funding for key public programs.

News24 (South Africa) article referenced findings by Dr. 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.