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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of June 7, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
June 7, 2020 to June 13, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: Bracing for spike and a second wave

KNBC-TV (June 12, NBC affiliate, Los Angeles) 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 pandemic, including the possibility of a second wave later this year. “Anytime that we’re seeing the R naught is above one, we’re risking seeing exponential spread,” Rimoin said. “Things are opening because of the economy, not because of public health.”

COVID-19: Is the rise of new cases proof re-openings have been rushed?

ABC News (June 12) 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 implications of cases going up in 20 states across the nation, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, and Texas. “As we expected, this is the first wave continuing; it has decreased in the northeast and now it’s moved south,” Eisenman said. “States really need to develop their test, trace, and isolate programs, and citizens really need to take seriously the importance of wearing masks, the importance of physically distancing, and avoiding high risk situations like going into crowds.”

COVID-19: Combatting quarantine fatigue even more challenging in disadvantaged communities

CNN (June 12, starts at 09:59) 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 impact of quarantine fatigue in poor communities. “A lot of the coping strategies that are being suggested are really problematic and maybe even be irrelevant for a lot of these communities,” Sharif said. “So from a health equity perspective, our hope is that when things reopen and we go back to quote unquote what was normal, we go to a, a different normal, a better normal.” A version also ran in the Daily Journal.

COVID-19: Reopening the state and best public health practices

KPCC-FM (June 11, starts at 00:54) 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 pandemic, including best practices for individuals as California governments relax social distancing restrictions. “We don’t have the testing that we need to be able to test, trace, and isolate well; we don’t have therapeutics in place (and) we’re still very far away from having vaccines in hand,” Rimoin said. “Until all these things fall into place, the best thing we can do are these blunt public health measure, and wearing a mask is a terrific way to reduce spread of the virus.”

COVID-19: What effect did lockdowns have on curbing spread? A lot, say two new studies

KQED-FM (June 11, Bay Area NPR affiliate) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about two new papers published in the journal Nature (including one from a UC Berkeley team) that found lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus were highly effective, preventing tens of millions of infections and saving millions of lives. Michels, who was not involved in either paper, called the UC Berkeley study "solid" and "well done," reflecting what she would have expected: "That many of the measures taken made a big difference and saved many lives."

COVID-19: What does it mean to be in phase three of a vaccine trial?

KTLA-TV (June 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, on the state of the pandemic, including the announcement that at least one possible vaccine, being developed by Moderna, Inc., will go to a Phase 3 study in July. “Clinical trials happen in several stages … the third stage is when the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety,” Rimoin said. “It doesn’t mean the vaccine is ready for prime time and it doesn’t mean we know what is going to happen with it.”

COVID-19: Forecasting the second wave of the pandemic

ABC News (June 11) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, on the state of the pandemic in the U.S. (where confirmed cases have hit 2 million, including more than 110,000 deaths, by June), including that a second wave of infection is expected unless physical distancing and other precautions remain customary. “It is in our hands and we have all the knowledge required to keep this second wave low, but the relevant measures are unpopular, difficult to maintain and affect many aspects from economy to quality of life,” Michels said.

COVID-19: Protesters should be tested or self-quarantine for two weeks, Los Angeles officials say

CNN (June 10) referenced guidelines promulgated by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health faculty on how to reduce pandemic spread during and after political protests, including testing and self-quarantine. The open letter, signed by Dr. David Eisenman, professor of community health sciences; Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology; and Dr. Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, was mentioned by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a news conference. “UCLA actually put out some guidance today, that two to seven days after you've been out there, or two to seven days after you've stopped being out there, that it's a good time to get a test and to ensure if necessary, that you need to isolate yourself if you've been exposed or quarantine if you've been exposed to someone," Garcetti said.

COVID-19: At least 19 states have seen surges in coronavirus cases; keep wearing your mask

CNN (June 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, on the importance of wearing masks to prevent spread of the pandemic. “It's important to wear a mask and maintain social distancing," Rimoin said. "All of these layers are measures of protection." The story also ran on KITV-TV (NBC affiliate, Honolulu), WHDH-TV (Boston), and at least 10 other media outlets.

COVID-19: The differences between asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread

CNN (June 10) 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, on the differences between the difference between asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread, and how the pandemic can spread even when individuals don’t feel or show any symptoms.  “When you speak, sometimes you'll spit a little bit," Rimoin said. "You'll rub your nose. You'll touch your mouth. You'll rub your eyes. And then you'll touch other surfaces, and then you will be spreading virus if you are infected and shedding." Versions of the story also ran in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Tucson Arizona Daily Star, MSN, the Napa Valley Register (CA), and at least 50 other media outlets.

COVID-19: Tear gas, pollution, wildfire smoke: a triple threat

KQED-FM (June 10, Bay Area NPR affiliate) interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the links between air pollution and disease, including COVID-19 death rates. “You have to be cautious in interpreting what we're finding, but I think what we're seeing in a series of very rapidly developing studies is evidence that air pollution does make people more susceptible to COVID," Jerrett said. "The wildfires are likely to exacerbate the existing symptoms."

COVID-19: Hospitalizations are on the rise, especially in states that reopened their economies early

KNX-AM (June 8) interviewed Dr. Jonathan Fielding, UCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management,on the state of the pandemic response in the United States. “We have between 13 and 20 states, depending on which timeframe you use, where we’ve seen increases in the diseases itself; we’re not talking about pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, (but) in the disease itself – that’s really of concern,” Fielding said. “People have to remember just because a restriction has been released, it does not mean that they are at lower risk - on the contrary.”

COVID-19: Harvard study suggests coronavirus may have hit China in autumn of 2019

ABC News (June 8) 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 a Harvard Medical School study, based on satellite photographs of the parking lots at hospitals in the Chinese city of Wuhan and currently under review, that suggests coronavirus may have hit China in autumn of 2019. “We are in need of new and innovative methods for predicting disease,” said Rimoin, who was not connected with the research effort. “In this specific case, data on events such as increases in hospital traffic could serve as early indicators of social disruption resulting from disease. High-resolution satellite imagery can be extremely useful for understanding disease spread and implementation of control measures.” The story also ran on Medical Daily.

COVID-19: Risks of pandemic spread from the protests?

KTLA-TV (June 8) 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 risks of further pandemic spread stemming from attendance at political protest. “We can’t forget the virus is still here it’s still contagious and we’re still going to get spread,” Rimoin said. “Things (one can do) include wearing a face mask when you’re out there, and really try to stay at least six feet apart from other people; wearing a mask, wearing goggles, and maintaining distance are key.”

COVID-19: “Even more likely to spread, among the protestors, and from the protestors to the police”

KNX-AM (June 4) 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 risks of infection at political protests. “The virus is transmitted the more we cough, the more we sneeze, and tear gas makes people cough and sneeze,” Eisenman said. “The protestors are wearing masks, but often, when they are arrested and confined, their masks are stripped off their faces, so if they’ve been exposed to tear gas, they’re now coughing on each other and coughing on the law enforcement.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: Why is mortality far lower in many female-led countries?

The New York Times (June 13) 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, in a piece by columnist Nicholas Kristof on whether women leaders have done better at fighting the pandemic. “Countries led by women do seem to be particularly successful in fighting the coronavirus … New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway have done so well perhaps due to the leadership and management styles attributed to their female leaders,” Rimoin said. “Perhaps the skills that have led them to reach the top (are) the same skills that are currently needed to bring a country together.” It ran in multiple other outlets, including the Salt Lake Tribune.

COVID-19: LAPD packed protesters in confined space for hours, heightening infection risk

The Los Angeles Times (June 13) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, on the risks law enforcement tactics, including how those taken into custody during the protests, pose to individuals. “If you are packing people together on buses, particularly if the windows are closed … that will promote COVID-19 transmission if there are infected and susceptible people on those buses,” Brewer said.

COVID-19: Blood pressure medicines do not put patients at greater COVID-19 risk, study finds

Reuters (June 12) quoted Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, in a story about a study he co-led that indicates popular anti-hypertension drugs - called ACE inhibitors and ARBs - do not put users at greater risk from the pandemic. “Our findings are quite reassuring,” said Suchard, who co-led the study. “Taking an ACE or an ARB is just as safe as other first-list hypertension agents in terms of your risk of contracting COVID-19.”

COVID-19: As oil prices crashed, tankers idled off California—with unknown consequences

National Geographic (June 12) interviewed Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the potential impact of the quadrupling of the number of oil tankers anchored offshore from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in April because of the pandemic. “The ports are an environmental justice issue,” Zhu said. “The nearby communities are exposed to so many pollutants from ships and trucks, and the effects are very clear.”

COVID-19: Ways the police response to protests could contribute to the pandemic

SELF (June 12) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, on the risks law enforcement tactics, including the use of tear gas and similar chemical agents, pose to protestors. “Anything that irritates people's respiratory systems and causes them to cough or sneeze, if they’re infected with COVID-19, will increase the possibility that they’re shedding respiratory droplets around them,” Brewer said.

COVID-19: Seven questions to ask before returning to your office or school

Forbes (June 12) referenced Dr. Jonathan FieldingUCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management,in a column that cited a rating system of buildings related to the health burden from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. Fielding serves as co-chair of the panel that created the system, formed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

COVID-19: Possible "uneasy" summer for United States

EFE (June 12) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, about the potential impact of a second wave of the pandemic in the summer and autumn, including the impact on Latinos in the United States. “I don't foresee a quiet summer,” Hayes-Bautista said. “It is now 50% more cases than at the beginning of May (in southern California, and) it seems that the reopening was very premature and that there will be peaks above the stability of the (health care system.” Variants of the story ran in Yahoo Noticias (Spanish language), El Diario, Infobae, Hola, and Informe21.

COVID-19: Second wave worries in United States

Nikkei (June 11, Japan’s largest financial newspaper) interviewed Karin Michels, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology, about concerns political protests may lead to a second wave of infection in the U.S. "Mostly social distance is not maintained. The future is difficult to predict, but the risk of infection among demonstrators is a concern," Michels said.

COVID-19: National Institutes of Health funds project to rapidly analyze the spread, evolution of pandemic

Science Magazine (June 11) quoted Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, in a story about a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a project he co-leads that is designed to help answer basic questions about the pandemic. “Through the creation of new, scalable statistical models, we’ll be able to more clearly identify the factors that affect viral transmission and virulence for SARS-CoV-2,” Suchard said. “Not only will this allow us to understand whether certain public health measures are working, but it also will help predict how the disease could spread under different circumstances.” Similar items ran in News-Medical and Sound Health.

COVID-19: Tips for continuing to wear a face mask during Georgia’s hot months

The Atlanta Journal Constitution (June 11) 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, on the importance of wearing masks to prevent spread of the pandemic. “It's important to wear a mask and maintain social distancing," Rimoin said. "All of these layers are measures of protection."

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 (June 10) published 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: How coronavirus is changing hotel’s hygiene practices

The Los Angeles Times (June 10) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about changes in the hotel industry’s practices in response to the pandemic, including the use of disinfectant fogs. “I don’t think there is any reason you have to disinfect the walls and ceilings,” said Brewer, who added the virus usually doesn’t live on surfaces for more than several hours.

COVID-19: California should prioritize telehealth for low-income communities

CalMatters (June 10) published a commentary co-written by Arturo Vargas Bustamante, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, advocating increased use of telehealth to improve health access for low-income communities that have been hard hit by the pandemic. “More than 7 million Latinos in California could receive improved access to health care through an expansion of telehealth,” wrote Vargas Bustamante and his co-author, Carmela Castellano-Garcia, president and CEO of the California Primary Care Association. “In rural areas, the lack of primary care physicians is dire: only 11% of the state’s doctors practice in these communities, and there are few specialized practitioners.”

COVID-19: Protests are worrying US health officials, who fear a new outbreak of the pandemic

La Presse (June 9, Quebec, Canada) quoted 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 risks of infection at political protests. "We see people whose mask has been lowered, who are handcuffed and placed shoulder to shoulder in tight spaces," Eisenman said.

COVID-19: Even as Angelenos stayed home, Los Angeles County saw a spike among Latinos

LAist (June 9) interviewed 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 minority communities. “You have these people that were making it possible for the wealthier families to shelter in place … but in doing so, they had to expose themselves to the potential of coronavirus infection," Hayes-Bautista said. “Even to this day, Latinos are twice as likely as anybody else not to have health insurance … it's no wonder now we're starting to see this surge, although it's been building for a while." Dr. Paul Simon, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct professor of epidemiology and chief science officer and director of the Division of Assessment, Planning, and Quality at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, was also quoted. A similar story ran on KPCC-FM.

COVID-19: Will reopening restaurants mean more cases?

Food & Wine (June 9) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct associate professor of epidemiology, on the potential impact of reopening restaurants on the health of diners and workers. “We have certainly seen an increase in COVID-19 cases as restaurants and bars reopen across the U.S.,” Shafir said. “But since those re-openings have not occurred in isolation—they often happened at, or near, the same time as the opening of other venues like parks, beaches, and retail stores—it’s impossible to know contact that occurred in the restaurants or bars was responsible.”

COVID-19:Experts warn tear gas is dangerous to use on protestors due to increased risk of transmission

One Green Planet (June 9) quoted 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 risks of infection at political protests. “During this time when we’re protesting police brutality, the use of tear gas is causing more harm in the way of spreading COVID,” Eisenman said. “There is some culpability on the police for using this method, which increases the sneezing and increases the coughing and therefore increases the spread.”

COVID-19: “A Grim Picture Emerges in California”

Ms. Magazine (June 8) interviewed 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 minority communities, including health insurance and access to testing. “Some individuals enjoy a protective social umbrella, with full health insurance, good access to health care, and the ability to shelter at home until the storm passes” Hayes-Bautista said. “Others have far fewer protective umbrellas, with big holes in them—such as little or no health insurance, little or no access to medical care—and essential jobs that require them to stay out in the rain so that others can shelter at home.” Paul Hsu, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at FSPH, was also quoted.

COVID-19: UCLA study of mortality by race and ethnicity cited

Religion News Service (June 8) referenced a new database for tracking COVID-19 cases by race and ethnicity in a story about June 7 sermons related to political protests across the United States; the resource was created and is maintained by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, led by Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management at FSPH.

COVID-19: Increased interest in plant-based protein?

Healthline (June 8) interviewed Dana Hunnes, adjunct assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on polling that indicates increased interest in plant-based proteins during the pandemic. “People are at home more, maybe have been cooking more, and so it is possible they have become more open-minded to trying out new flavors that are also healthier for them,” Hunnes said. “It’s definitely healthier for you than meat which comes with pro-inflammatory fats, acrylamide that forms during the cooking process — which is carcinogenic — and a lot of unhealthy fats.”

COVID-19: Doubling down on preparations for the duration of the pandemic

California Healthline (June 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 at-home preparations for possible future ”safer at home” orders, including whether individuals should consider purchasing items like food, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and a pulse oximeter for those at high risk. “I think it’s better to order it and wait until it comes, because we are going to be in this for the long haul,” Eisenman said. The story also ran on Physician’s Weekly.

COVID-19: Advancing the role of buildings in protecting health

The Daily Journal (June 8) referenced Dr. Jonathan FieldingUCLA FSPH distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, in an item that cited a rating system of buildings related to the health burden from COVID-19 and other respiratory infections. Fielding serves as co-chair of the panel that created the system, formed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). It also ran in Real Estate Weekly, WorkPlaceInsight, Climate Control News, and the Baytown Sun.

COVID-19: How to hit the gym safely when you return

What’sGood (June 5) quoted Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health adjunct associate professor of epidemiology, on how to exercise safely as gyms and similar facilities re-open. “There’s a lot of work being done to figure out exactly how long [the virus lives on surfaces], but we suspect it can last up to 72 hours,” Shafir said. “I wouldn’t recommend going to any group exercise classes where people are breathing heavily in an enclosed space for an extended period of time.”

 

FEATURES (Other)

Lassen County scholar recognized by UCLA Fielding School of Public Health for excellence

The Lassen County Times (June 12) quoted Heidi West, 2020 recipient of the Samuel J. Tibbitts Fellowship at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, in an item about the award. “I am honored to receive this fellowship, and I am grateful that it will help me to lend my voice and contribute scholarship to improving public health and social justice,” said West, a doctoral student in the school’s health policy and management PhD program. A similar item was run by Newsbreak.

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health efforts spotlighted in ASPPH Friday Letter

The ASPPH Friday Letter (June 12) reported five items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health experts and FSPH efforts related to the pandemic. Under “Preparedness and Response,” these included a signed open letter by Dr. David Eisenman, professor of community health sciences, Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology, and Dr. Jonathan Fielding, distinguished professor-in-residence of health policy and management, on how to reduce COVID-19 spread during civil protest. Under “ASPPH Members in the News” were listed a STAT interview of Vickie Mays, professor of health policy and management on how African-Americans deal with the realities of racism and the pandemic and a New York Times commentary quoting Frederick Zimmerman, professor of health policy and management, on poverty being an indicator of mortality in the pandemic. Under “Academic Resources and Tools,” the traditional Chinese translation of COVID-19: Breaking the Chain of Infection was included; and under “Student & Alumni Achievements,” recent UCLA FSPH graduate, Dr. Melissa Rios was highlighted in an article provided by UCLA Newsroom.

Older, gas-fired appliance can lead to use unhealthy air in homes

Air Quality Matters (June 8) quoted Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about a study that found that after an hour of using a gas-fired stove or oven, levels of nitrogen dioxide inside California homes reached levels that exceeded both state and national ambient air-quality standards. “California’s state agencies often focus on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts, but there has been much less focus on how fossil fuel use in household appliances can adversely impact indoor air quality and public health,” Zhu said. “The goal of this report is to provide information to Californians on how pollution from gas-fired appliances affects the air they breathe, and the related health effects.”