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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of December 20, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
December 20, 2020 to December 26, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: “The Crisis in California”

KTLA-TV (Dec. 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, about the surge in confirmed cases in California. “We are seeing just explosive spread of COVID-19 right here in southern California,” Rimoin said. “We have a wildfire of cases here in California, just spreading out of control.”

COVID-19: What Los Angeles Did Right and Wrong in This Year’s Fight Against the Pandemic

KCRW-FM (Dec. 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, about the lessons learned from Los Angeles County’s response to the pandemic in 2020, including the early stay-at-home orders in the spring. “This was really important in slowing the spread. I think we would be a lot worse off today if we hadn’t taken those measures that we took early on,” Rimoin said. “We’re in the midst of a massive spike (today) in California, but that’s because we took off the brakes too soon.”

COVID-19: As Placer County Sees Surge, Leadership Won’t Issue Emergency Health Order

CapRadio (Dec. 22, KXJZ-FM) interviewed Diana Bonta, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about the pandemic in California’s Placer County. “An emergency order (is) a warning to people, telling them that this is crucial, this is very important,” Bonta said. “People are making tremendous sacrifices in the medical arena … (county governments should) try and ease their burden (by making) clear to the public that there are ways in which we can protect ourselves and decrease the number of cases.”

COVID-19: “If You Take Your Foot Off the Pedal Just for a Second you Start to Gain Momentum”

Live on IG with Kumail Nanjiani (Dec. 21) 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 pandemic’s spread in the fourth quarter of 2020. “This is what we worried about, in terms of the spread and what was going to happen after Thanksgiving,” Rimoin said. “This is just one of these examples that if you take your foot off the pedal just for a second you start to gain momentum.”

COVID-19: Eviction Ban will be Extended Through January in Stimulus Deal

CNBC (Dec. 21) 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. “When you’re looking at an infectious disease like COVID-19, evictions can have an impact not only on the health of evicted families, but also on the health of the broader community,” Leifheit said. Her work was referenced in a second CNBC story, and the pieces also ran on KNBC-TV (NBC affiliate, Los Angles), KNSD-TV (NBC affiliate, San Diego), WCAU-TV (NBC affiliate, Philadelphia), and WTVJ-TV (NBC affiliate, Miami).

COVID-19: “Having Additional Vaccines Available is Going to be Critical”

KNX-AM (Dec. 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, about the new Moderna vaccine. “Having additional vaccines available is going to be critical,” Rimoin said. “These vaccines are particularly interesting because they do not require that rigorous cold storage that the Pfizer vaccine does.”

COVID-19: “The Fact That This Vaccine can be Refrigerated for Up to 30 Days is Really Important”

KNX-AM (Dec. 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, about the new Moderna vaccine. “The fact that this vaccine can be refrigerated for up to 30 days is really important, because it means it can be distributed far and wide in places that may have difficulty storing the Pfizer vaccine,” Rimoin said. “It’s important that we get all of this information out there and make sure that people understand how safe and how effective this vaccine is.”

COVID-19: “These Vaccines Have Been Vetted Very, Very Carefully”

KNX-AM (Dec. 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, about the new Moderna vaccine. “This is terrific news,” Rimoin said. “These vaccines have been vetted very, very carefully; they’ve gone through a rigorous process.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: Los Angeles' 'Tsunami': Inside the New Center of America's Raging Pandemic

The Guardian (Dec. 26) 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’ve moved from having waves to now having a viral tsunami occurring here in Los Angeles,” Kim-Farley said.

COVID-19: ‘Viral Tsunami’ Floods California’s Hospitals

The Financial Times (Dec. 25) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the scale of the pandemic in southern California. “It’s a viral tsunami,” Kim-Farley said. “It is so much larger than we have experienced prior to this.” A similar item ran in the Daily Mail (U.K).

COVID-19: Inland Empire Now Hot Zone Even as its Leaders Battle Safety Restrictions

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 24) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about the impact of San Bernardino County leaders’ lawsuits over California’s pandemic orders. “If someone is seeing their local leadership saying the rules don’t make sense, then they might feel as if they don’t need to follow the rules,” Shafir said. It also ran in the Bakersfield Californian, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer. A related story quoting Shafir ran in New York Magazine.

COVID-19: Popular Blood Pressure Meds Won't Up Risk

U.S. News & World Report (Dec. 24) quoted Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School professor of biostatistics, about his research published in The Lancet that found two widely used types of blood pressure drugs aren't tied to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection or complications. “The clear answer is that ACE inhibitors and ARBs pose no increased risk as compared to other treatments,” Suchard said. “Based on our results, if there is a risk difference, it's marginal and would be very challenging to further refine outside such a large-scale international study.” The story also ran in Health Day News, Drugs.com, and Cooking.

COVID-19: Cases Surge at Los Angeles County Malls as Customers Pack Stores

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 23) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about mixed messages the public has received during the pandemic. “There’s been so much messaging in the pandemic that said, ‘It’s not safe for X to be open, so we’re going to close X,’” Shafir said. “It’s totally reasonable for people to then interpret the inverse: ‘If it’s open, it must be safe.’ “

COVID-19: How do we Inject Confidence Into Vaccine Hesitant Americans?

MedPage Today (Dec. 23) referenced 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 an interview about vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers with Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “Even people who ordinarily are big enthusiasts, or are supporters of vaccines, are concerned,” Hotez said. “My friend and colleague Anne Rimoin, who's a professor of epidemiology at UCLA, a couple of weeks ago came out with a study on medRxiv showing that there's even significant amount of concern among healthcare providers, especially nurses. So there's going to be a lot of damage control, and it's going to be critical because we're not going to reach that 75% threshold unless we can do this.”

COVID-19: California's Catastrophe Shows Worst-Case Holiday Scenario

The Hill (Dec. 23) interviewed Matthew Mimiaga, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the course of the pandemic in California. “The greater the number, the greater the risk for possible exposure,” Mimiaga said. “In Southern California, the numbers have been high for a good amount of time now.” It also ran on MSN.

COVID-19: Experts Answer Your Questions

The Buffalo News (Dec. 23) quoted Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about what to do while waiting for test results. “Stay home, preferably in self-isolation away from others, until notified of test results,” Brewer said. “If the COVID-19 test is positive, remain in self-isolation until your fever has gone away for at least 72 hours (three days) off any fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen.”

COVID-19: Experts Address Three Major COVID Vaccine Concerns Among Americans

Verywell Health (Dec. 23) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the vaccine development process. “People have to realize that the vaccines are actually developed based on years and years of experience,” Brewer said. “For example, the Moderna vaccine took the platform (mRNA) that they had for a MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) vaccine, and they swapped out the MERs genetic code and swapped in the SARS-CoV-2 genetic code. So, these vaccines didn’t come out of nowhere; they came out of years of research and advances in technology.”

COVID-19: Vaccines Have Arrived, but Winning the War is Still More a Matter of Behavior

The Argonaut (Dec. 23) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about the next stage of the pandemic response. “The vaccine is a big step forward. However, it will be several months until it will manifest in a real change in numbers,” Michels said. Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, was also referenced.

COVID-19: California’s Hospitals Cope with an Onslaught

The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 22) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about how California’s medical centers are dealing with the pandemic. “(Hospitals must) shift into surge mode,” Shafir said. “This impacts not only critically ill COVID-19 patients but also those who are critically ill for other reasons.”

COVID-19: Los Angeles County’s Spiking Hospitalizations are Literally Heading off the Charts

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 22) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about why holiday parties should be avoided. “Are you invited to a party? Just say no,” Kim-Farley said. “Are you invited to friends for dinner at their house? Just say no. That way, when you need an ICU bed, the hospital won’t be telling you, ‘No.’ “

COVID-19: Is a New Variant Causing Los Angeles’ Explosion in Cases?

Los Angeles Magazine (Dec. 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, about the possibility coronavirus mutations may be present in southern California. “Most mutations are not significant or cause for concern,” Rimoin said. “But it’s important to monitor and to understand them.” Also quoted was Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology. “As the virus spreads through different populations, its level of transmissibility will go up and down,” Brewer said. “For a long time California had been in the bottom quarter in COVID rates. Now it’s in the top ten. It would be unusual to have mutations affecting California conferring greater transmission risk and not have it spread anywhere else.”

COVID-19: California Once Quelled with Stay-at-Home Order

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 21) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about why California’s December stay-at-home order has not has the same impact as in the spring. “(It was) lighted matches being thrown into the forest, which occasionally resulted in flare-ups,” Kim-Farley said. “(Now is a) full-blown, raging, viral wildfire … it’s just going to take longer.”

COVID-19: Los Angeles Hospitals Brace for the Worst

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 21) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the burden the current infection surge is having on intensive care wards and staff in southern California. “I have yet to see any clear signals that things are slowing down, and I’m very concerned about the next two months,” Brewer said. “It isn’t so much space, it’s staff. It’s the physicians, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, all of the trained people to do that highly specific work that you can’t just pull out of a hat.”

COVID-19: The Relief Bill Isn’t Nearly Big Enough

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 21) referenced work 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, in a column about the COVID-19 relief bill. “America is an island unto itself in the skimpiness of its sick leave mandate. About three-quarters of all countries guarantee paid sick leave from Day One of an illness, and 76% provide for at least six weeks of coverage, according to a survey by UCLA’s World Policy Analysis Center,” columnist Michael Hiltzik wrote. The column also ran in the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Bakersfield Californian, Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, and the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer.

COVID-19: California is Short on Spanish-speaking Physicians

The Sacramento Bee (Dec. 21) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about why the shortage of Spanish-speaking physicians in California is a problem for the state’s pandemic response. “You can’t stay at home and be a farmworker. Hence, because they’re more exposed, they’re more likely to become infected,” Hayes-Bautista said. “Now, at that point, the Latino doctor shortage suddenly becomes critical.” It also ran in the Fresno Bee.

COVID-19: Should You Worry About Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines?

The San Jose Mercury News (Dec. 21) referenced Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management, in a story about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trial. It also ran in the East Bay Times, Marin Independent Journal, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

COVID-19: Here are Some Tips for Shopping Safely

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 20) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about how to shop safely. “There is no safe activity that involves being within six feet of another person that you do not live with,” Shafir said. “I know this is the time when a lot of people might want to linger and browse and be out shopping, particularly when it comes to Christmas gifts, but we really want people to be as expedient and efficient as possible.”

COVID-19: Vaccines are Here, but Big Questions Remain About Immunity, Mandates

The Orange County Register (Dec. 20) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the importance of the global vaccination campaigns. “This idea about reaching herd immunity through natural infection — there’s no such thing,” Brewer said. “Smallpox never went away until we had a smallpox vaccine. Polio never went away until we had a polio vaccine. Herd immunity is stopping transmission, and that has never happened without a vaccine.” 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 Spanish in SCNG’s three Excelsior papers, as well. It also ran in the San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times.

 

FEATURES (Other)

UCLA: Surviving Cancer Ups Risk of Dying from a Subsequent Primary Cancer

LetLifeHappen (Dec. 26) quoted Dr. Patricia Ganz, distinguished professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association into the risks of subsequent primary cancers (SPCs) among adult-onset cancer survivors in the United States. “The 5-year survival time point often marks a clinical transition when many patients are no longer followed-up in oncology specialty practices and must rely on their primary care clinicians as their main source of medical care,” Ganz wrote. “Clinicians have an important role in counseling regarding behavioral and lifestyle risk factors that may attenuate the risk for SPCs, and this should be a priority.”

UCLA: Surviving Cancer Ups Risk of Dying from a Subsequent Primary Cancer

Physician’s Weekly (Dec. 25) quoted Dr. Patricia Ganz, distinguished professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association into the risks of subsequent primary cancers (SPCs) among adult-onset cancer survivors in the United States. “The 5-year survival time point often marks a clinical transition when many patients are no longer followed-up in oncology specialty practices and must rely on their primary care clinicians as their main source of medical care,” Ganz wrote. “Clinicians have an important role in counseling regarding behavioral and lifestyle risk factors that may attenuate the risk for SPCs, and this should be a priority.”

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Efforts Spotlighted in ASPPH Friday Letter

The ASPPH Friday Letter (Dec. 25) reported six 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 in the Wall Street Journal of Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology; by Bloomberg of Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences; and in the New York Times of Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management. The Letter also reported on the annual report of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), produced by the Fielding School's UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and led by Ninez Ponce. Also included was the listing of "Racism: Science & Tools for the Public Health Professional,” co-edited by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor Chandra Ford, as an as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2020 by Choice magazine, official journal of the American Library Association; and the appointment of Vickie Mays, professor of health policy and management, to a new position to advise Chancellor Gene Block on issues affecting the Black community.

The One Day of the Year to Avoid Surgery – 23% Higher Mortality Risk

SciTech Daily (Dec. 24) quoted 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 is the first to show the association between a surgeon’s birthday and patient mortality, but further research is needed before we make a conclusion that birthdays indeed have a meaningful impact on surgeons’ performance,” Tsugawa said. “At this point, given that evidence is still limited, I don’t think patients need to avoid a surgical procedure on the surgeon’s birthday.” A similar story ran in El Nuevo Periodico.

New UCLA LGBTQ Well-Being Center

The Outtake (Dec. 23) quoted Matthew Mimiaga, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the UCLA Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research & Health (C-LARAH), about the center’s goals. “Both here at home and around the world, LGBTQ populations have a higher prevalence and incidence of life-threatening physical conditions, mental health challenges and certain chronic and infectious diseases, along with significant barriers in accessing and maintaining healthcare and treatment,” Mimiaga said. “C-LARAH and its partners will collaborate on research-informed ways to both reach members of this historically marginalized population and serve them holistically.” A similar item ran on Q Notes.

“It’s a Shame Mary Nichols Won’t Lead Joe Biden’s EPA”

The Los Angeles Times (Dec. 23) published a letter to the editor by Arthur Winer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor emeritus of environmental health sciences, about California Air Resources Board’ chair Mary Nichols and the Biden Administration. “Nichols has an extensive record of battling air pollution and pioneering standards to contain greenhouse gases. She also has done more for environmental justice than any other state or the nation has yet accomplished,” Winer wrote. “Let’s hope that her 30-year impact is not forgotten in the face of these churlish and backbiting complaints to prevent her being chosen as head of EPA.”

Meditation, Survivorship Classes Ease Depression in Younger Women Treated for Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer News (Dec. 22) quoted Dr. Patricia Ganz, distinguished professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about UCLA-led research that shows that behavioral interventions—mindfulness meditation and survivorship education classes—are effective in reducing depressive symptoms in younger breast cancer survivors. “For women in their 30s and 40s, the experience with breast cancer and its treatments is substantially different from that of older women,” Ganz said. “These women often require more aggressive therapy that can be both disruptive and disfiguring, which can cause high levels of distress, putting them at an increased risk for the negative effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Yet, little research has been done on strategies to reduce the depression and manage the stress of this younger population.” The study’s other authors include Dr. Catherine Crespi, Fielding School professor of biostatistics. Ganz was also interviewed for a podcast on the research.

UCLA Opens Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research & Health

The Los Angeles Blade (Dec. 20) quoted Matthew Mimiaga, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the UCLA Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research & Health (C-LARAH), about the center’s goals. “Both here at home and around the world, LGBTQ populations have a higher prevalence and incidence of life-threatening physical conditions, mental health challenges, and certain chronic and infectious diseases, along with significant barriers in accessing and maintaining healthcare and treatment,” Mimiaga said.