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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of July 5, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
July 5, 2020 to July 11, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: Ninety-five deaths in one day in Florida

CNN (July 11) 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 mortality and confirmed cases rising in Florida, which reported 95 deaths on July 11 alone, 7,200 hospitalizations on July 11 (including 560 in Orange County, where Disney World), and a 1200% increase in the average number of new daily cases since the state re-opened May 4. “The problem with these testing numbers is that people have to wait days for results, so we don’t actually know where we stand right now … what we’re talking about today is a reflection of what has happened several days previously,” Rimoin said. “There are places in Florida that have positivity rates that are totally unacceptable (and) Florida has more cases than anyone.”

COVID-19: Disney World reopens amid Florida spike

CNN (July 10) 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 risks of re-opening amusement parks, including Disney World in Florida, set to open in stages beginning July 11, and the possibility parks could become centers for renewed spread as guests travel and return home. “Who doesn’t want to be at the happiest place on earth at a time when we’re all stressed out and could use some fun?” Rimoin said. “The problem is, Disney World is going to be the happiest place on Earth for the coronavirus.” The interview was repeated July 10 on CNN International and on July 11 on Headline News (HLN).

COVID-19: “The problem is we are not being led by science”

CNN (July 10) 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 Trump Administration’s response to the pandemic. “If we want to get the economy back together, we need to focus on the virus; if we want to talk about the health the health of the nation, we have to focus on the virus; if we want to talk about anything that is going to be helping our country move forward, we have to deal with the virus,” Rimoin said. “Ignoring it is not going to help us. We have to deal with what is at hand here, and anything less is reckless and putting people’s lives at stake.”

COVID-19: The U.S. response has been politicized

CNN (July 10) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the state of the pandemic in the United States, including what leaders need to do to slow down the pandemic. “We actually know what to do. In fact, California flattened the curve very early on, (and) we were the first state to shut down. We were the first to institute social distancing,” Hayes-Bautista said. “Medicine knows what to do to prevent something, and yet we have (become) polarized over that very action. It makes it very hard to control an epidemic.”

COVID-19: Workplace discrimination allowed in nearly one in four countries

KNBC-TV (July 10) 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, about a study that shows workers in nearly one in four countries are not legally protected from discrimination based on race and ethnicity. “The United States does better in terms of its written law in many respects, but we still have a problem with access to justice in the United States,” Heymann said. “And there are groups of workers in the U.S. where it’s perfectly legal to discriminate, and that’s a big problem right now in a pandemic.”

COVID-19: School closures will have an impact on children’s education

Bloomberg News (July 10, starts at 20:11) interviewed Christina Ramirez, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, on the impact of K-12 school closures on children’s education. “This interruption is realty jeopardizing the chances of an entire generation of you g people, especially those who have the fewest resources and are more likely to be the children of essential workers and families of color,” Ramirez said. “We’re seeing (research) that kids have lost up to a year of schooling in mathematics, and these gaps in achievement are cumulative, and we see that (for) children of lower socioeconomic status whose parents can’t afford tutors.” The story also ran on Yahoo Finance.

COVID-19: More research on transmission before schools should reopen

MSNBC (July 8; starts at 05:13) 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 reopening schools this fall. “We have rising cases everywhere; if there’s any hope to be able to (reopen) safely, we’re going to have to not just flatten the curve but crush it,” Rimoin said. “Everybody needs to be wearing masks, everybody needs to be doing it, not only for their safety but for the safety of our children in the long term here.” The story also ran on Yahoo.

COVID-19: Immunity is incomplete and may even wane

CNN (July 6) 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 research on the pandemic in Spain that makes clear that immunity, even among those who have been infected, is incomplete and may wane after a few weeks, with significant implications for the concept of herd immunity. “Even in a country where you had a very large epidemic, really most people do not have any evidence of previous infection and/or what we might consider to be potential for immunity,” Rimoin said. “It also just reminds us that we are all at risk, and that very few of us, even under the best of circumstances are likely to have any immunity, and so we all have to wear masks, we all have to social distance, and we all need to be taking precautions to reduce spread of the virus.”

COVID-19: Former state public health officer calls Orange County Board of Education’s statements “ridiculous”

KPCC-FM (July 6) interviewed Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about statements by the elected Orange County (CA) Board of Education that are skeptical about the scientific consensus that masks help prevent the spread of the pandemic. “To make a statement that masks don't work as a statement of theological belief is ridiculous,” said Jackson, a pediatrician who was named head of the California Department of Public Health by former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

COVID-19: Ways to socialize safely amid pandemic spike

KTLA-TV (July 5) 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 how to socialize safely during the pandemic. “As long as we can socially distance, and wear a mask, and we can all do our best to reduce the spread of the virus, we will see a decrease, but it means that everybody has to do it,” Rimoin said. “There are things that everybody can do, but we all have to play our part.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: Florida's cases near record levels as nationwide death toll rises

NBC News (July 10) quoted Anne Rimoin,UCCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about the risks of re-opening amusement parks, including Disney World in Florida, set to open in stages beginning July 11. “There are several hospitals that are running out of beds in Florida, with health workers warning that there are not going to be enough ventilators and enough rooms, and cases in the state are breaking new records daily,” Rimoin said. “Moving forward with reopening, I think, is inviting disaster." Similar stories, including Rimoin’s quote, ran in the Deseret News and Teen Vogue.

COVID-19: Amusement park re-openings “inviting disaster”

Variety (July 10) 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 risks of re-opening amusement parks, including Disney World in Florida, set to open in stages beginning July 11. Florida has recorded 232,718 coronavirus cases, more than 4,000 deaths, and recently extended the state of emergency for another 60 days. “There are several hospitals that are running out of beds in Florida, with health workers warning that there are not going to be enough ventilators and enough rooms, and cases in the state are breaking new records daily,” Rimoin said. “Moving forward with reopening, I think, is inviting disaster. I’m not sure that’s what the world is looking for right now.” Rimoin was also quoted by Deseret News, Teen Vogue, The Week, The Mary Sue, Aviation Analysis, and NewsTrace.

COVID-19: Pandemic and flu season are set to collide, and experts fear ‘disaster’

Talking Points Memo (July 10) interviewed Dr. Daniel Uslan, associate adjunct professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the possibility of continued COVID-19 outbreaks this fall, combined with the seasonal flu. “If COVID-19 and influenza peak at the same time this year, it could be quite disastrous,” Uslan said. “Because both infections are quite similar, they use many of the same resources, (and) since flu season on its own is a challenge to manage, having both infections peak around the same time will cause tremendous stress to our health-care system.”

COVID-19: How countries have contained the pandemic and can the U.S. do the same?

HealthDay News (July 10) interviewed Dr. Robert Brook, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, on how Taiwan – with only seven deaths and 445 confirmed cases, in a population of 24 million - has successfully contained the pandemic. “They weren’t caught with their pants down, which is really what we were in the United States; they were prepared,” Brook said. “It was a coordinated, well-put-together approach … they knew where every intensive care bed was, every ventilator was, they had enough masks, they had enough PPE.”

COVID-19: Major League Soccer expels second team from play after nine players test positive

The Los Angeles Times (July 9) 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 risks of professional sports, given that MLS has dismissed a second team from play July 9 after nine more players tested positive and the NBA is set to resume play in Florida later this month. “It seems premature to be starting up sports again given the rates of infection that are spiraling out of control right now,” Rimoin said. “The state’s numbers are moving in the wrong direction with no sign of abating.”

COVID-19: The art and science of risk communication

Knowable Magazine (July 9) interviewed Deborah Glik, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about best practices for informing the public about the pandemic. “The goal is to get as much information as possible out to as many people as possible, as quickly as you can. That means the messages themselves have to be simple,” Glik said. “Our President has had opportunity after opportunity to show that he can communicate in a way that’s responsible, consistent, credible, (and) empathetic. This was his big test, and he flunked.”

COVID-19: The case rate increase in California

Random Lengths (July 9) quoted David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the increase in confirmed cases between Memorial Day to Fourth of July, which has struck Latinos especially hard, with a rate that more than doubled with a 147% increase. “The policies of sheltering at home, working from a distance, and supporting children learning their lessons at home had a huge blind spot,” Hayes-Bautista said. “Farm workers cannot plant tomatoes from home. In order for the rest of us to eat, they have had to work shoulder to shoulder in large crews nearly every day, often without personal protective equipment, usually without health insurance, and without a regular source of care.” Paul Hsu, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at FSPH, was also quoted.

COVID-19: Projection - 200,000 dead by Election Day

Politico (July 8) 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, about projections the U.S. death toll is now expected to reach 200,000 by Nov. 3, Election Day. “I am despairing for the future,” Eisenman said. “I don’t see anything happening to indicate that (the future) will be much better.” Quanquan Gu, an assistant professor of computer science at UCLA, was also quoted.

COVID-19: As the pandemic flares behind bars, now's not the time for executions

The Indianapolis Star (July 8) published a commentary by Nina Harawa, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology, on the health risks to staff and visitors of four executions scheduled at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, beginning July 13. “Whether or not you support the death penalty in normal times, the potential for collateral damage from carrying out these executions as coronavirus cases surge should give you pause,” Harawa wrote. “Delaying the executions until the threat posed by COVID-19 has been mitigated will ensure that none of the people who have the right or duty to bear witness have to choose between fulfilling those obligations and protecting their health and the health of their families and communities.”

COVID-19: California prepares for a surge in coronavirus deaths, as infections soar

MSN Latino (July 8) quoted Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, on California's rising COVID-19 infection rate and a potential increase in mortality rates; about 65% of new infections have been diagnosed among those 18 to 49, despite the fact that just 45% of Californians fall into that age range. “These are individuals who tend not to be as likely to get serious disease or require either hospitalization or to die from COVID-19,” Brewer said. “So particularly the 18- to 50-year-old age group is a group that has relatively low mortality rates, but there has been a big surge in infections.”

COVID-19: Loving our neighbors in a post-pandemic world

Sojourners (July 8) quoted Frederick Zimmerman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, in a commentary about poverty being a leading indicator of mortality in the pandemic. “When our politics starts to work better for those left behind, then their health will improve,” Zimmerman said.

COVID-19: Does heartburn medication use double risk?

The International Business Times (July 8) quoted Dr. Brennan Spiegel, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of Health Policy and Management, about research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology that suggests a common heartburn treatment, the use of proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, particularly twice-daily dosing, is associated with increased odds for reporting a positive COVID-19 test. “As with any medication, the lowest effective dose should be used when clinically indicated,” Spiegel said. Also quoted was Dr. Christopher V. Almario, an FSPH alumni and recipient of the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders’s 2020 Research Recognition Award. Similar items also ran in Healio Gastroenterology and infosurhoy.

COVID-19: MLS is back, but should it be during a surge of cases in the U.S.?

The Los Angeles Times (July 7) 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 whether the league should be trying to play. “It seems premature to be starting up sports again given the rates of infection that are spiraling out of control right now,” Rimoin said. “The league is gambling with the player’s health in this instance. We are still far from adequate testing, vaccines or therapeutics. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence of long-term sequelae that could occur even from more mild infections. Right now we are still learning about this disease.”

COVID-19: A spike in coronavirus deaths in California as infections soar?

The Los Angeles Times (July 7) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, on California's rising COVID-19 infection rate and a potential increase in mortality rates; so far in July, roughly 65% of new infections have been diagnosed among those 18 to 49, despite the fact that just 45% of Californians fall into that age range. “These are individuals who tend not to be as likely to get serious disease or require either hospitalization or to die from COVID-19,” Brewer said. “So particularly the 18- to 50-year-old age group is a group that has relatively low mortality rates, but there has been a big surge in infections.” The story also ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Yahoo News, and the Norwalk (OH) Reflector.

COVID-19: Mask wars - which side are you on?

Everyday Health (July 7) interviewed Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about mask wearing has become a political Rorschach test and a life-and-death issue for African-Americans. “Which death do they choose? COVID-19 or police shooting?” she asks rhetorically. “We have African Americans who have been dragged out of stores, who have been ordered by police and store guards to pull their masks down or take their masks off.”

COVID-19: California limits Independence Day celebrations to combat surge

The Wall Street Journal (July 6) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, for video about state orders to limit public gatherings to fight the pandemic. “It becomes really important for us at this time not to have a spike on top of our spike,” Kim-Farley said. “Perhaps we now have now had complacency set in, so when things are being dialed back, people can think, ‘oh well, I can go back to what I was doing before.’ No, you can’t.”

COVID-19: Supreme Court decision on the ACA case during a pandemic?

Yahoo Finance (July 6) interviewed Gerald Kominski, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of Health Policy and Management and senior fellow at the FSPH UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, about the Trump Administration’s effort to find the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional during the pandemic. “For those of us who work in this field and are trying to move the country further to get to universal access — because the ACA was an important step but it doesn’t give everybody access to health insurance — we’re well aware this is a limitation,” Kominski said. “More is necessary to get truly everybody in the country insured.”

COVID-19: Evidence growing that virus present in Texas is more contagious

The Beaumont (TX) Enterprise (July 6) quoted Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, about research that suggests a mutated novel coronavirus strain, the main one circulating in the Houston area, is more contagious than the original virus in China. “This is an extraordinarily challenging problem, the evolution and demography are complex, so there’s much more work to be done,” Suchard said.

COVID-19: Tom Hanks criticizes people for not social distancing: ‘shame on you’

Simplemost (July 6) 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 a story about actor/producer Tom Hanks’ comments on the pandemic. “There’s really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow: Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands,” said Hanks, who has donated plasma and otherwise supported research efforts at UCLA, including Rimoin’s work.

COVID-19: Did a mutation help the coronavirus spread?

The Baltimore Sun (July 5) interviewed Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, about research published in the journal Cell that suggests a variant of the coronavirus that has come to predominate in much of the world did so partly because it is more transmissible than other viruses. “It’s exciting to see a group take on the challenge of solving this, and the differences they report are intriguing, particularly the consistency across geography,” said Suchard, who is not an author of the Cell study. “But this is an extraordinarily challenging problem, the evolution and demography are complex, so there’s much more work to be done.” The story originally ran in the New York Times and also in The New Nation (Bangladesh).

COVID-19: California’s re-opening put “essential workers most at risk”

The Guardian (July 5) interviewed Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, on the impact of the pandemic on California’s workers, especially those who cannot work from home. “It really put our essential workers most at risk,” Ponce said. The article also cited a COVID-19 dashboard created by the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research to track cases and death rates with demographic factors using the California Health Interview Survey. Ponce’s interview was also referenced on Outside the Beltway.

COVID-19: “Any barrier in front of your face is better than none”

The Orange County Register (July 5) 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, about the benefits of wearing masks as part of the pandemic response. “We now know that any barrier in front of your face is better than none,” Eisenman said. “We know that it will prevent you not just from exhaling the virus, but also inhaling it.” The story also ran in the Los Angeles Daily News, Riverside Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, and San Jose Mercury-News.

COVID-19: Pandemic enters unknown territory in the United States

ElPais (July 5, Spain) interviewed Naderah Pourat, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of health policy and management and associate director of FSPH’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, for a piece on the state of the pandemic in the U.S. “People are more on the street and feel more relaxed about the masks or the distance. There are more parties, gatherings, and funerals,” Vargas Bustamante said. ”There are a large number of infections among people who feel that the epidemic has passed.”

COVID-19: Is a greener world possible?

The Albany Democrat-Herald (July 5, Oregon) quoted Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, in a column about the impact of the pandemic on air quality. “We don’t need a pandemic to breathe cleaner air,” Zhu said.

COVID-19: Contact tracing needs community buy-in to succeed in virus fight

Bloomberg Law (June 2) interviewed Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the level of trust needed between communities and public health agencies. “I know that we’re in an epidemic, and we need answers and we need to do this as quickly as possible,” Mays said. “But we also need to realize that data is a commodity that can be collected by one entity, re-purposed, and used by another.”

 

FEATURES (Other)

“How often can I eat … breakfast cereal?”

DollarShave (July 10) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the nutritional and health aspects of breakfast cereal. “Cereals can be good for you if they have a lot of fiber in them,” Hunnes said. “If it’s a cereal with few ingredients and low in sugar, and you stick to the box-recommended portion size of around 2 ounces, once a day is perfectly fine.”

UCLA Study: Workplace discrimination allowed in nearly one in four countries

Reuters (July 9) 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, in connection with a study she co-authored that shows workers in nearly one in four member states of the United Nations are not legally protected from discrimination based on race and ethnicity. “Discrimination at work persists across countries, but there is powerful evidence that anti-discrimination laws can make a difference,” Heymann said. “It is the same spirit and beliefs that animated the research as have animated much of what we’ve heard recently, which is everybody has an equal right to respect, health and to be able to contribute fully.” The study was also reported by the Hindustan Times (India), Haaretz,(Israel), Helsingen Sanomat, (Finland), the Jakarta Post (Indonesia), Canada.com, Phys.org, Strabroek News, Sight, The Entrepreneur Fund, Times of News, The World News, USSA, and Mirage News.

UCLA Study: Marijuana, e-cigarettes enticing more young adults

US News & World Report (July 9) quoted Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, on research that found that from 2017-18, c-cigarette use increased 48%, and marijuana use increased 19%, among those ages 18-25. "Smoking is and has always been a concern in the public health community and beyond, and young adults are particularly at risk for harm and addiction," Ponce said. "We need to work together to make these products less desirable, acceptable and accessible among the 4.6 million young adults residing in California." Ying-Ying Meng, a researcher at the Center for Health Policy Research, was also quoted. Similar items ran on Health Day, Tampa Online, and Drugs.com.

Is it cheating … to sneak junk food?

MEL (July 9) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the whether secret junk food binges are healthy, physically or emotionally. “I always wonder, when someone in a relationship is hiding something — even if it’s food — what else might they be hiding?,” Hunnes said. “Honesty is the best policy in relationships, along with compromise, especially when it comes to food.”

Expand school choice to combat structural racism

The Libertarian Republic (July 6) published a column referencing work by 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, and Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) professor of community health science. “(Structural racism are) the macrolevel systems, social forces, institutions, ideologies, and processes that interact with one another to generate and reinforce inequities among racial and ethnic groups,” Ford and Gee wrote.

“Do you really need to wait to go in the pool after eating?”

MEL (July 5) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the relationship between eating and exercise, especially swimming. “Light physical activity after a meal, including walking and possibly swimming, is good for digestion and helps to move food through the digestive tract,” Hunnes said.