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FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)
COVID-19: No Vaccines Given at Dodger Stadium as Supply Shortage Continues
KCBS-TV (Feb. 13) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the vaccine shortage in Los Angeles. “It is very important to be able to get as many people vaccinated as we can,” Rimoin said. “But we’re still constrained by the number of doses that we have to get in arms right now.” It also ran on KCAL-TV.
COVID-19: Restaurants Reopen in Some States for Valentine's Day
Inside Edition (Feb. 13) quoted Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about fears re-opening restaurants could end up furthering the spread. “The virus doesn’t care that it’s Valentine’s Day,” Rimoin said.
COVID-19: Valentine’s Day Dinner Could Expose You to Next Super Spreader
Inside Edition (Feb. 11) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the risk of spreading infection connected to Valentine’s Day. “The virus doesn’t care that it’s Valentine’s Day,” Rimoin said. “If you really want to show love to other people in your life, you should probably stay apart for this Valentine’s Day.” It also ran on MSN.
COVID-19: Vaccine Shortage Closes Some Sites
KNBC-TV (Feb. 11) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the vaccine shortage in Los Angeles. “We need to focus on the fact that we have great vaccines that are available,” Rimoin said. “There will be things that will slow us down, but we are moving in the right direction.”
COVID-19: Health Officials Fear U.K. Variant Could Cause Spring Surge in California
KCBS-TV (Feb. 11) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the risks of the so-called “U.K.” variant, or B.1.1.7, thought to be even more – perhaps 50% - contagious. “We’re not going to stop this variant from taking hold, it’s too late for that,” Rimoin said. “It’s definitely more contagious; it spreads more easily, and there’s a question of people are shedding more virus … the only thing we can do right now, given the limited supply of vaccine, is handwashing, social distance, and wear that mask.” It also ran on KCAL-TV and MSN.
COVID-19: Racial Disparities Affect Medical Outcomes
KCRW-FM (Feb. 10) interviewed Chandra Ford, founding director of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health and professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, about racial disparities and medical outcomes, including during the pandemic. “Technically, racism has always played a role in shaping health. We can see it in the neighborhoods that we drive through: the disparities that we see that happen in health along racial and ethnic lines,” Ford said. “What’s different now is that we’re actually using the term ‘racism’ to characterize the effects of racism.”
COVID-19: Psychological Implications of the Crisis?
Texas Public Radio (Feb. 8) interviewed Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about how a better understanding of the psychology of pandemics help in public health planning for the next large-scale epidemic. “It’s not just the uncertainty, it’s the losses as well,” Mays said. “You have a lot of people who never prepared because they never thought they’d see something like this.” A similar item ran on Monitor on Psychology.
FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)
COVID-19: mRNA Vaccine Does NOT Increase Risk of Death
Lead Stories (Feb. 11) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, for a fact check about mRNA vaccines, including whether they turn patients into “genetically modified organisms.” “One of the advantages of mRNA vaccines is they do not integrate at all and they don't even get into the nucleus of the cell,” Brewer said. “All the action happens in the cytoplasm so there's no concern about any genetic modification.”
COVID-19: UCLA-led Study Offers Dual Strategy to Reduce Spread, Sustain Economy
The Daily Bruin (Feb. 11) interviewed Dr. Akihiro Nishi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of epidemiology, about his about his study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggests strategies for sustaining economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic while avoiding spread of infection. “Sometimes division (might) be the best idea, sometimes lockdowns could be the best idea,” Nishi said. “But everything can be on the table.”
COVID-19: Cases are Falling in the U.S. it Could be a Calm Before a Variant-Driven Storm
STAT (Feb. 10) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about the current decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases may just be temporary. “In California, I think people were getting the message that the state wasn’t doing well,” Michels said. “They were waking up, and I think they got scared. We’ve had our New York moment, so I think people are more careful and more aware than they were before.”
COVID-19: California the 4th state to report cases of the more infectious South African variant
The Insider (Feb. 10) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the appearance of B.1.351, the so-called “South African” variant, in California. “When you have more contagious variants circulating and people now feeling free to do things that they weren't able to do for a while, we do risk having another surge happen in the near future,” Rimoin said. “So we need to be watching it carefully.” It also ran on Yahoo News, MSN, and Nigerian News.
COVID-19: How Should We Prioritize Who Gets the Vaccines?
Passing Judgment (Feb. 10) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about how to prioritize who should get the vaccine. “Because we have limited vaccine supply, and we can’t do everything we want to do right now .. we have to make some choices about what is important to us,” Rimoin said. “We have to make sure that when we make these choices, we understand what the repercussions are … no good deed goes unpunished.”
COVID-19: California Detects First Cases of South African Coronavirus Variant
The California Patch (Feb. 10) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the appearance of B.1.351, the so-called “South African” variant, in California. “"The vaccines seem to be less effective (against the South African variant) but still provide a level of protection that should prevent most people from getting serious disease," Brewer said. "So while the antibodies generated don't bind as well to that variant, they bind well enough that most people should still be protected from disease."
COVID-19: Brutal Surge in the U.S. Weakens Significantly
The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 9) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about the possibility that Superbowl weekend may have acted as a “nationwide superspreader event” to prompt another upsurge in infections. It also ran on Valor Globo and Time24News, and a similar item ran in the Antelope Valley Press.
COVID-19: Study Shows why Work, Large Families put Latinos at Risk
The Sacramento Bee (Feb. 9) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the impact on the pandemic on Latino Californians. “Latinos have the highest labor force participation of any group and large, big supportive families, but crammed into very small households,” Hayes-Bautista said. “COVID is just loving this is. It’s very opportunistic.” It also ran in the Fresno Bee, Napa Valley Register, the Santa Rosa (CA) Press-Democrat, and a similar interview ran on KMEX-TV (begins at 02:25), the Univision affiliate in Los Angeles.
COVID-19: When the Rule-Breaking Restaurant Next Door Becomes a Pandemic Nightmare
The Daily Beast (Feb. 9) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the risks of outdoor dining. “When you go to a restaurant, you tend to be in close proximity with people you have not been close with before, and that tends to be for longer periods of time,” Brewer said. It also ran on Yahoo.
COVID-19: Vaccine Distribution Gives Hope to the UCLA Community
The Daily Bruin (Feb. 9) interviewed Anne Pebley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about the potential of the vaccination campaigns. “Between now and the time substantial numbers of people get vaccinated, we are going to have a much worse pandemic,” Pebley said. “It’s one of those situations in which everyone’s fate depends on other people doing the right thing.”
COVID-19: The Side Effects of Los Angeles’ Vaccine Rollout, From Line Cutting to Scams
The Daily Bruin (Feb. 9) interviewed Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management, about the vaccination campaign in Los Angeles County. “The county is being very strict about vaccine allocation and making sure they’re going to people who meet the criteria for priority,” Choi said. “Just hang tight and know that we’re going to get to everybody soon.” Dr. Peter Katona, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, was also referenced in the story.
COVID-19: Can You Test Positive After Getting the Vaccine?
Reader’s Digest (Feb. 9) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about possibly testing positive even after being vaccinated. “Pfizer and Moderna data suggest that the vaccines are both approximately 95 percent effective at preventing people from getting symptomatic COVID-19, and are particularly effective at preventing severe disease,” Rimoin said. “It will take several weeks for your body to build optimal immunity after vaccination.”
COVID-19: Disabled, High-Risk Californians Still in Vaccine Limbo
The California Patch (Feb. 9) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about California's struggle with vaccine scarcity. “The big challenge that California and every state is grappling with is that we have much more demand for the vaccine than we have actual vaccine in hand,” Brewer said. “The question is, how do you push that out as quickly as possible to those who need it the most?”
COVID-19: Look Beyond Geography to Identify At-Risk Groups for Relief,
Physorg (Feb. 9) quoted Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, about new data on the impact of the pandemic on American Indians, Pacific Islanders, Cambodians, Filipinos and Koreans. “Pacific Islander and other smaller Asian groups are two to three times more likely than non-Latinx white workers to be essential workers, who are at a higher risk of being exposed during a pandemic," Ponce said. “They have received less attention because their numbers are fewer, and this is why we are promoting more ways to use data to address striking disparities."
COVID-19: Surprise and Doubt at the California’s Reopening
South Florida Media (Feb. 8, Spanish) interviewed Dr. Peter Katona, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the pandemic and California’s re-opening of public spaces. ““It worries me. We had a big problem in the spring and we managed to overcome it a bit,” Katona said. “We put away stay at home and restraints and (the virus) came back in the fall. I worry that we are giving in too soon.” Also quoted was David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the impact on the pandemic on California Latinos. “Many Latinos face a decision between staying home without eating or working and being exposed to the virus,” Hayes-Bautista said. “We are between a rock and a hard place.”
COVID-19: Nurse Practitioners’ Vital Role in Vaccine Education
Staff Care (Feb. 8) interviewed Kristen Choi, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health assistant professor of health policy and management, about nurse practitioners’ role in COVID-19 vaccine education. “It is important for advanced practice nurses to help lead vaccination efforts in their clinical settings,” Choi said. “As providers in settings like NP-led practices or midwife-led birth centers, they should take an active role in encouraging staff vaccination and planning for when their patient population will be eligible for vaccination.”
COVID-19: You can Enjoy the Super Bowl Without Becoming a Superspreader
The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 7) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about precautions to take while enjoying televised sporting events. “If we let down our guard and end up having large numbers of people in our home, inside, not masked, yelling for our teams, then we can see a potential reversal of the downward trend and end up with a new surge,” Kim-Farley said. A version ran on News.com (Australia).
COVID-19: By Tracking Mutations, Scientists aim to Forecast the Pandemic’s Future
The Los Angeles Times (Feb. 7) interviewed Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School professor of biostatistics, about the new National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance, or NS3, program — a Biden Administration initiative tasked with the job of detecting emerging new variants of the virus in time to mount effective responses. “(This can) reconstruct a much richer history of how, where and when the virus is moving through our communities,” Suchard said. It also ran in the Bakersfield Californian, the Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, GovTech, and Explica.
COVID-19: 5 Places you Shouldn't go Even if They're Open
Eat This, Not That (Feb. 7) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the risks of the pandemic. “Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should,” Rimoin said. “The virus is circulating so widely, anything that you do that puts you in contact with others outside your own household carries more risk now than it did previously. Anywhere that people are more likely to let their guard down and remove their masks and not social distance are particularly high-risk.” It also ran on MSN.
COVID-19: Here’s why Some Health Care Workers Don’t Want the Vaccine
The Huffington Post (Feb. 7) interviewed Adva Gadoth, a postdoctoral scholar at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about her work on UCLA Health’s UCLA HSW/LAC FR COVID-19 Risk Assessment Study, as presented in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine, published by the American College of Physicians. “A trend we saw in our survey was that people were really concerned about the fast-track development timeline of the vaccine, how quickly it was going, Operation Warp Speed,’” Gadoth said. “Something public health needs to do a better job of is communicating that to the public and reassuring them that all these checkpoints are in place.” It also ran on Yahoo, Science Codex, and in the BlackChronicle.
Using Behavioral Economics to Influence Healthcare Decisions
Managed Healthcare (Feb. 12) interviewed Thomas Rice, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health distinguished professor of health policy and management, about using behavioral economics to influence healthcare decisions, including the concept of strong decisions weakly held. “There are ways to cut down on information overload, including reducing the number of choices available to a manageable number by removing uncompetitive or unpopular plans, removing extraneous information from comparison tables … and using star ratings rather than exact dollar figures to catch the eye,” Rice said. “One thing that’s great about behavioral economics is that interventions are often very cheap compared to traditional economic incentives.”
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health efforts spotlighted in ASPPH Friday Letter
The ASPPH Friday Letter (Feb. 12) reported nine items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty and staff experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included COVID-19-related research led by Ninez Ponce and a COVID-19 project supported by Vickie Mays, as well as a Feb. 19 presentation hosted by Chandra Ford and the Feb. 26 Minority Health Conference, also hosted by Chandra Ford. The Letter also included a New York Times interview of Dr. Timothy Brewer and a Bloomberg interview of Anne Rimoin, and listed research co-authored by Beth Glenn and Ninez Ponce and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Public Health and Surveillance, and research co-authored by Gerald Kominski and published in Health Affairs. It also included the 2021 case competition hosted by Laura Erskine and the UCLA Center for Healthcare Management.
Ranking Fast Food Fish Sandwiches by How (Un)Healthy They are
MEL (Feb. 11) interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the relative healthiness of fast food fish sandwiches. “While not fried, they’re mixed with huge amounts of mayo, which may contribute to them being less healthy,” Hunnes said.
Environmental Science Students, Faculty Continue Work Despite Mental Toll
The Daily Bruin (Feb. 11) interviewed Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and senior associate dean for academic programs, about life as an environmental health researcher. “Our research is trying to make sure we understand the impact on forming group policies so that these disadvantaged communities will be benefitted.” Zhu said. “It’s sometimes difficult to communicate to the public, including policy makers that some of the questions that we’re dealing with (are) not someone’s else’s question, it’s not a future generation’s question; it’s our questions and our problem.”
Bay Area Cities go to war Over Gas Stoves
U.S. News & World Report (Feb. 10) interviewed Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and senior associate dean for academic programs, about research examining the health risks of long-term exposure to exhaust from gas appliances. “All of those have been shown to be detrimental to human health,” Zhu said. Similar items ran on Mother Jones, Slate, and Technical Solutions.
The Circularity gap and Climate Emissions
The Ecologist (Feb. 10) referenced Jared Diamond, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, in a commentary about how climate change, air pollution, and resource use are enmeshed. “History warns us that taking our natural resources for granted can spell disaster,” the authors wrote. “According to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond in Collapse, multiple failed civilizations—from the Anasazi of North America to Vikings of Greenland—all share a history of fundamental ‘use and abuse’ of the natural world. They also share the trait of ignoring the early warning signs.” Similar items ran in Curbed NY, GeoNews, and PopMatters.
To Prevent Domestic Terrorism, the U.S. Needs Community Reporting That Protects Civil Liberties
Just Security (Feb. 9) published a commentary co-written by Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health and director of the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, about the Biden Administration avoiding exacerbating racial disparities while investigating domestic terrorism, including the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. “As the new administration builds its domestic terrorism approach, and if they hope to prevent any future attacks, it should pay more attention to building the country’s terrorism prevention toolkit,” the authors wrote. “In doing so, (the authorities must) take special care to not overly rely on securitized responses to targeted communities, which could further exacerbate racial disparities.”