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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of June 28, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
June 28, 2020 to July 4, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: The biggest factors in the pandemic’s spread in the United States

MSNBC (July 4) 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 why the pandemic continues to spread in the United States. “The science on transmission is pretty clear: if you give the virus an opportunity to spread, when people are not social distancing and they’re not wearing masks, it’s going to take that opportunity and do what it does,” Rimoin said. “We are not without hope, we have solutions … if 95 percent of the population wore a mask, we’d be able to save up to 24,000 lives in the coming months.”

COVID-19: “This is a very serious disease”

CNN (July 3) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state of the pandemic response in California. “The goal post we’re trying to seek, which really of course, at least has to be don’t overload our hospital systems,” Kim-Farley said. “Politicians, working with public health, have to be able to emulate the things that are being requested: mask use (and) social distancing.”

COVID-19: Mount Rushmore rally “a very irresponsible event”

CNN (July 3) 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 July 3 Mount Rushmore event. “The most patriotic thing that anybody can do is where a mask, and I would have loved to have seen masks being worn at this event and for the president to be standing in front of people wearing a mask; really and truly, this was a very irresponsible event,” Rimoin said. “We know that asymptomatic infection is responsible for a large percent of the spread of coronavirus … that’s why masks are so critical.”

COVID-19: “Public health professor encourages everyone to wear masks”

MSNBC (July 3) 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 group gatherings and why all Americans should wear masks. “The advice is pretty straightforward: everybody should be wearing a mask,” Rimoin said. “It will prevent the spread of disease … wear a mask. It’s pretty simple.” The interview also ran on Yahoo News.

COVID-19: “We really can’t go back to life as usual”

KPCC-FM (July 2, begins at 01:40) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the possibility the Independence Day holiday could bring a wave of new infections that could overwhelm hospitals. “California was a leader in the country with the 19 March stay at home order done by Gov. Newsom, and we really did flatten the curve and I think it was appropriate to start selectively dialing back,” Kim-Farley said. “We’re going to see this up and down a little bit, dialing up or dialing down, as we pragmatically just look at what is the situation as we do those maneuvers.”

COVID-19: Closures announced for 19 California counties as case numbers rise

KPCC-FM (July 2, begins at 02:05) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, for a report on the increase in confirmed cases in California. “The critical issue is which populations are getting infected … we’re seeing a surge in cases, and hospitalizations are going up, but we really haven’t seen a surge in deaths,” Brewer said. “Over 40% of the deaths in the country have occurred in individuals who live in long term care facilities … the key is do we have those outbreaks in our long term care facilities, and if we do, I think we’re going to be in for a very difficult time.”

COVID-19: California re-imposes restrictions to slow spread ahead of July 4th weekend

KNX-AM (July 1, starts at 1:20) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the state’s efforts to slow a wave of new infections that could overwhelm the hospital system. “As we had flattened the curve and begun to see some decline, we dialed things up a bit to be able to start re-opening, and before we get to a point we were overloading our health care systems, we are dialing back down again,” Kim-Farley said. “We are going to be doing this fine-tuning, and this may not be the only time that this up and back may occur.”

COVID-19: Transmission and infection still a risk when out of doors

KTTV-TV (July 1) 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 transmission while outside. “It's very clear at this point that the virus transmits most efficiently indoors from person to person, and so the bigger risk is when you're going into a place where you cannot be socially distant, and people are not wearing masks, and it's an indoor setting,” Rimoin said. “Outdoors the virus appears to spread less efficiently: you have airflow, you have sunlight so the UV probably has something to do with it as well, and you also have more space to move in, but it still transmits outside. So the best thing to do is social distance and wear a mask."

UCLA research shows surge in vaping, marijuana use among young adults

KNBC-TV (July 1) quoted Ying-Ying Meng, a researcher at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, about a study, co-led by Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management, that found E-cigarette use climbed 48%, and marijuana use rose by 19%, over one year. "Although the state and local governments have made massive strides in tobacco control policy, our research underscores the importance of considering laws that affect access to all three products together,” Meng said. “Policies are needed to discourage young adults from switching from one product to another due to differences in price, access and availability.” The story was originally produced by City News Service, and also ran on KNTV-TV (NBC affiliate, San Francisco), KFI-AM (Los Angeles), Medical Xpress, LA Cannabis News, and Brinkwire.

COVID-19: “We need to be careful and you need to do your best to prevent spread”

CNN (June 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, about how to take precautions when visiting someone in a vulnerable population. “The thing we know about this virus is that even if you think you’re well, you could be asymptomatically infected,” Rimoin said. “You can unwittingly spread it to other people, and this is probably why we’re seeing the spikes everywhere.”

COVID-19: As cases spike, California's early gains are coming undone

NPR (June 29) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, for the “Morning Edition” program on why Californians the number of confirmed cases rise. “California’s hot spot at the moment is certainly Los Angeles County, with the large percentage of the deaths and cases in the state; of course, it is the largest county, with some 10 million population as well,” Kim-Farley said. “We’ve had, obviously, recent protests and demonstrations, more young people out again for that, so I think these things are all leading factors in increasing rates in younger people at the present time.” The interview was broadcast on NPR nationally and on KPCC-FM in southern California during the “All Things Considered” program.

COVID-19: Pandemic hits grim milestones and may leave lasting effects

KPCC-FM (June 29, starts at 33:25)interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the milestones of 10 million confirmed cases and 500,000 deaths worldwide, and the potential for lasting damage to an individual’s health from the disease. “We’re finding out more and more, not that we know everything yet; it’s not simply a matter of if you get over this you go back to as you were before,” Kim-Farley said. “This is a multisystem disease and can lead to lasting effects in people … this is real, and we know it’s real.”

COVID-19: “We are reaching the point of no return”

CNN (June 28) 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 state of the U.S. response to the pandemic. “We are reaching the point of no return, where it is going to be (going) from an unmitigated disaster, to an uncontrolled disaster,” Rimoin said. “We are really at a key point here. We need people to be doing everything they can, everybody doing their part: wearing a mask, social distancing hand hygiene, avoid crowded places. You know, our ability to control this virus rests on all of us doing the right thing. And to do the right thing, it is as I said, wear a mask, social distance, and hygiene.”

COVID-19: California considers reverting back to 'shut down' amid record surges

CGTN (June 28) interviewed Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health epidemiologist and associate dean for research, on the increase in confirmed cases across California, and how physical distancing remains the best response to the pandemic. “If you have a party, it’s impossible to keep a mask on you because you have to talk, you have to eat, you have to drink, and that actually increases your chance of infection,” Zhang said.

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: California’s lessons for Massachusetts

The Boston Globe (July 4) 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 California’s lessons for Massachusetts with regards to pandemic response. “It’s easy to get overconfident when you look at how we did flattening the curve in early days here. So I think it’s possible,” Rimoin said. “I think the lesson for California — or from California — is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the curve, or in flattening the curve … if you do not continue to be consistent.” The story also ran on MSN.

COVID-19: “Californians are losing their fear of the coronavirus, setting the stage for disaster”

The Los Angeles Times (July 3) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about public concern about the highly contagious virus, even though it’s no less infectious than it was in the winter. “(Elected officials) need to lead and demonstrate, by example themselves, the actions they wish for the public to do — such as the wearing of masks,” Kim-Farley said. “We have to create a new norm around public health for COVID — that it’s not cool to be outside without a mask.” The piece also ran on YourSun (FL).

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

LAist (July 3) 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, namely that "requiring children to wear masks during school is not only impossible to implement but not based on science and could be potentially harmful," and that social distancing is "unacceptable." "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. “No, (masks) are not perfect, (but) we ought to be wearing masks and there's no reason we can't teach children to be wearing masks in school. I'm not talking about preschoolers, but I'm talking about school-aged kids who have to learn to live with this new reality." A version of the peice also ran on KPCC-FM.

COVID-19: “How California went from success story to virus hot spot”

The Associated Press (July 2) 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 California has fought the pandemic, including a too rapid reopening leading into Memorial Day weekend and then Father’s Day. “We’re in a very precarious situation,” Rimoin said. “All of these things together gave ample opportunity for this virus to spread, and I think that this just really demonstrates how quickly we can lose all of the gains that we made.” The story ran widely, including by KCBS-TV (Sacramento), Talking Points Memo, and the Andover Leader.

COVID-19: “Seven reasons to care about racism and COVID-19 and seven things to do to stop it”

The American Journal of Public Health’s (July 2) Chinese language podcast (Mandarin) included a report about an editorial about racism and the pandemic, and strategies to address the problem, co-written by Gilbert Gee, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) professor of community health sciences; Anne Rimoin, FSPH professor of epidemiology; and Marguerite J. Ro, with Public Health—Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA. “Although prejudice and fear may be common reactions to outbreaks such as COVID-19, they should not be seen as justifiable or even natural ones,” the authors wrote. “Now is the time for solidarity, not slurs.”

COVID-19: Californians face crucial test over Independence Day holiday

Xinhua (July 2) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the possibility the holiday could bring a wave of new infections that could overwhelm hospitals. “Traditionally, the Fourth of July has been such a time for large gatherings and beach going,” Kim-Farley said. “If those same practices occurred, we could be back with even a further spike upon our spike that we're having now." The story also ran on China Daily, China.org, and ECNS.

COVID-19: Tulare County hospitals near capacity, brace for second surge of patients

The Visalia (CA) Times-Delta (July 2) quoted Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about how California has fought the pandemic. “The mask order of course should have been in place earlier but you also have to be willing to enforce the mask order,” Rimoin said.

COVID-19: “The U.S. was perfectly equipped to beat coronavirus. The federal government failed”

The Los Angeles Times (July 2) published a letter to the editor from Richard Sinaiko, adjunct associate professor with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management, on the federal response to the pandemic in the United States. “It is truly unfathomable to me how the United States, which contains 4.25% of the world’s population, has experienced 25% of the confirmed COVID-19 cases globally,” Sinaiko wrote. “This is clearly the result of our federal government’s failure to adequately respond to this situation in spite of having access to the best and brightest scientists, the most extensive and costly medical research facilities and infrastructure in the world, and the most and best trained medical professionals.”

COVID-19: California fights to prevent July 4 disaster

The Los Angeles Times (July 1) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the possibility the Independence Day holiday could bring a wave of new infections that could overwhelm hospitals. “I think it is a critical moment for the public health message to be given out and heard,” Kim-Farley said. “Traditionally, the Fourth of July has been such a time for large gatherings and beach going. If those same practices occurred, we could be back with even a further spike upon our spike that we’re having now.” The story was referenced by California Healthline, and Kim-Farley was quoted by the Alexandria (VA) Dogwood.

COVID-19: California illustrates U.S. divide on face-masks

ECNS (July 1) quoted Dr. Jonathan Fielding, UCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, in a story about political division in the United States over the pandemic response. “People are saying, 'Our president's not doing this, why do I have to?' That's one of the roots of this problem — the radicalization of views on individual rights," Fielding said.

COVID-19: July 4 will be a do-or-die moment for California

The Los Angeles Times (June 30) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about how best to address the upsurge in confirmed infections in California. “Now, we’re recognizing things are going up. So we’re dialing it back down again,” Kim-Farley said. The story also ran in the SFGate (San Francisco Chronicle), Bakersfield (CA) Californian, Solano (CA) Daily Republic, Eugene (OR) Register-Guard, the Janesville (WI) Gazette, Hastings (NE) Tribune, Hawaiian Telecom, Armstrong Wire, TDS, GVTC, Headtopics, World News, and Wow Way.

COVID-19: Los Angeles and the peril of a resurgent pandemic

Bloomberg News (June 30) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the best path forward in Los Angeles, which has seen hospitalizations jump 27% in two weeks, reaching levels not seen since mid-April. Kim-Farley called closing bars “prudent and appropriate,” but added it will probably take three weeks to know whether that curbs new cases.

COVID-19: Why it can still be so hard to get a test

The Daily Briefing (June 30) quoted Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about the need for those who have been involved in large public events to be tested. "Any large gathering creates risk for transmission," Rimoin said. "It's just common sense that when you have events where people are shouting or singing or chanting and in close proximity to each other, that is the perfect storm."

COVID-19: Safe practices when it comes to summer vacations

The Points Guy (June 30) quoted Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about summer vacation safety. “If you have to fly, I recommend wearing a mask and, if you want to be extra safe, wear eye protection as well. It may be overkill, but it certainly can’t hurt,” Rimoin said. “Activities that are indoors, with crowds, are not advisable.”

COVID-19: Socializing during the pandemic: what to know and how to reduce risks

TeenVogue (June 30) interviewed Mienah Sharif, a post-doctoral researcher at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health, about the lack of recreation resources for young people in many neighborhoods. “A lot of these challenges that these teens are facing existed before the virus, such that certain neighborhoods have limited access to safe and accessible places to exercise in,” Sharif said. “When they may access certain resources in other neighborhoods, we still live within a racialized society where these kids may be facing racism, homophobia, xenophobia, which are all stressors.”

COVID-19: California’s slide from success to danger zone may have begun Memorial Day

The Los Angeles Times (June 29) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor-in-residence of epidemiology and community health sciences, about analyses that have found that new coronavirus hospitalizations in California began accelerating around June 15 at a rate not seen since early April – with infections likely to have begun to increase around Memorial Day weekend. “Unfortunately, we’ve made it such that it’s become very divisive and become very politicized,” Kim-Farley said. “If everyone could be very responsible about practicing the masking and physical distancing, we should be able to open up without having, again, the surges we’re seeing.” The story also ran on Yahoo News, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Arcamax.

COVID-19: Pandemic is devastating Southern California’s Pacific Islanders

The Orange County Register (June 29) referenced research from a team led by David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, about the impact of the pandemic on the Pacific Islander community in the region. In the 18-34 age group, for example, Pacific Islanders have nearly 300 cases per 100,000 compared to 72.9 among whites, the researchers found.

COVID-19: SAG-AFTRA looks to UCLA for expertise on returning to work safely

Hawaii Business magazine (June 29) referenced Dr. Jonathan FieldingUCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management,in a story about the 160,000-strong Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) response to the pandemic.

COVID-19: Companies want workers back, but some are afraid to return

The San Francisco Chronicle (June 28) referenced Linda Delp, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct associate professor of environmental health sciences and director of the UCLA-Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program, about California’s state-level guidance about precautions companies should take around cleaning and virus prevention. Delp said the department is also requiring mask-wearing and other virus-prevention precautions.

COVID-19: What Black people need to know about Vitamin D and the pandemic

Elemental (June 28) interviewed Dr. Keith Norris, a member of the executive board at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health, on the significance of a Northwestern University study that found a link between severe vitamin D deficiency and higher mortality rates. “There is a lot of debate on how low vitamin D levels need to be before they are clinically important,” Norris said. “When it’s a little low it may not be that important.”

 

FEATURES (Other)

“Ranking popular styles of beer by how (un)healthy they are”

MEL (July 4) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the healthiness of beer. “Let’s be real here — alcohol is alcohol,” Hunnes said. “Since beers can vary by alcohol content, one beer can (at times) be considered to be one-and-a-half drinks or even two drinks if its alcohol content is high enough.”

“Ranking lemonades by how (un)healthy they are”

MEL (July 3) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the healthiness of lemonades. “(Homemade lemonade has) simple ingredients, and the best part is you can make it as sweet or not as you like it. So it definitely has the potential to be much healthier than anything else on this list,” Hunnes said. “I’d certainly go light on the sugar to start. You can always add more, but it’s impossible to take it out.”

UCLA FSPH alumnus named to Colorado State University post

The Coloradoan (July 2) reported that Mary Pedersen, who earned her master’s degree (MPH, ’76) and Ph.D. (’80) from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, has been named Colorado State University’s provost and executive vice president. Pedersen will move to the Fort Collins campus from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. “The integration of teaching and research together is what has drawn me to and kept me engaged with the land-grant mission,” Pedersen said. “(Such universities) are the leading edge of discovery, and it is very exciting to be part of that.”

Infertility: a neglected component of sexual and reproductive health and rights

The Bulletin of the World Health Organization (July 1) published a commentary co-authored by Jessica D. Gipson, associate professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's Department of Community Health Sciences, asserting that health researchers cannot exclude infertility as part of the global sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda. “With a predominant and narrow focus on the prevention of unintended pregnancy, the field of sexual and reproductive health rights (and we ourselves, as researchers in this field) have inadvertently contributed to the lack of attention to infertility,” the authors wrote. Gipson’s co-authors include Marta J. Bornstein, a doctoral student in the Department of Community Health Sciences, and Michelle J Hindin, of the Population Council.

UCLA scholar published on the role of diversity and inclusion in epidemiology

The American Journal of Epidemiology (June 30) published an article co-written by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health doctoral student Adrian M. Bacong on the current status of membership and diversity and inclusion efforts within the Society for Epidemiological Research (SER). “We recommend that SER strengthen its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity by: (1) integrating this priority on all agendas; (2) enhancing efforts to improve self-awareness among members and accountability within the organization; (3) supporting the growth of a diversifying workforce in epidemiology; and (4) increasing the visibility of health disparities research and researchers in epidemiology,” the authors wrote.

How healthy is ice cream?

Mel (June 28) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about healthier alternatives to ice cream. “I’d recommend shopping around for non-dairy alternatives to ice cream, such as soy, almond and coconut-milk-based products,” Hunnes said. “I’d also say that having a small portion daily would be acceptable for these non-dairy varieties, meaning around a quarter or half cup, maximum. Too much more than that, and you’re probably getting more calories, sugar and carbohydrates than you need.” 

UCLA scholar published on links between citizenship status and self-rated health

The Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (June 28) published research by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health doctoral student Adrian M. Bacong on the link between citizenship status and self-rated health among Asians in California. “Adjusting for demographics, naturalized citizens and non-citizens were statistically significantly more likely to report fair/poor health compared to U.S.-born citizens,” Bacong wrote.