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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of November 22, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
November 22, 2020 to November 28, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: UCLA Study Determines At-Risk Groups for Disease

KABC-TV (Nov. 27) quoted Christina Ramirez, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, about her Epidemics study that developed analyses to identify those most at risk from the pandemic. “We also found that the elevated infection and mortality risk for males and greater mortality risk for all races increase with age,” Ramirez said. Dr. Marc Suchard, Fielding School professor of biostatistics and a study co-author, was also quoted. “What it shows is that as tragic as the pandemic has been for Californians generally, it has hit certain groups even harder,” Suchard said. Similar stories ran KFI-AM, MyNewsLA, the Times of San Diego, and City News Service.

COVID-19: Evictions Lead to Additional Cases, Research Finds

CNBC (Nov. 27) interviewed Kathryn Leifheit, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health scholar, in a report that referenced research that found evictions led to a total of 433,700 excess cases and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. from the beginning of the pandemic until September. “When people are evicted, they often move in with friends and family, and that increases your number of contacts,” Leifheit said. “If people have to enter a homeless shelter, these are indoor places that can be quite crowded.” Similar stories ran on KNBC-TV (Los Angeles NBC affiliate) and KNSD-TV (San Diego NBC affiliate).

COVID-19: “Drastic Action is Needed”

KNX-AM (Nov. 25) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about Los Angeles County’s closures of restaurants and public events to help slow the spread of infection. “What we have now is widespread community transmission, and that means that all different venues are potentially sources,” Kim-Farley said.

COVID-19: Pandemic School Closures Could Shorten Student Life Spans, Researchers Say

KTTV-TV (Nov. 24, Fox affiliate, Los Angeles) quoted Frederick Zimmerman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, in a story about his Journal of the American Medical Association study that found children whose educations have been disrupted by the pandemic, may suffer life-long consequences, including shorter life spans. “In Britain the schools have been open but the pubs have been closed,” Zimmerman said. “In the United States the schools are closed and the bars are open. That says a lot about whom our politicians value.” Variations of the story ran on KCET-TV (PBS affiliate, Los Angeles), KFI-AM, KEIB-AM, KRRL-FM, the Antelope Valley Press, the Compton Bulletin, MyNewsLA, Science News, News Medical, Health News Digest, and City News Service.

COVID-19: “Will People Refuse Vaccines for Fear of Side-effects”?

KNX-AM (Nov. 24) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about vaccine hesitancy. “Some people will say `we’re injuring three people a year because of this vaccine’,” Kim-Farley said. “What’s going to happen? Of course, you go right back again.”

COVID-19: AstraZeneca Reports Vaccine up to 90% Effective

KPCC-FM (Nov. 23) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about reports a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University is 90% effective. “This is really the light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hunkering down, wearing masks, and trying to avoid crowds,” Kim-Farley said. “If we just wait a bit longer, we will have these products available.”

COVID-19: Pandemic Fatigue and the Vaccine

CNN (Nov. 22) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the pandemic vaccine program. “There is a light at the end of this tunnel,” Kim-Farley said. “If everybody could double down and hang in there, keeping masking and physical distancing, this vaccine is coming.”

COVID-19: Staying Safe This Thanksgiving

KNBC-TV (Nov. 22) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about the current surge and holiday travel and gatherings. “Cases are increasing here in Los Angeles and we’re very worried,” Rimoin said. “We know social distancing works, we know wearing a mask works … we’re at a precipice here; we have a chance, right now, to make a difference.”

COVID-19: A Wave of Evictions is on the Horizon. What Impact Could They Have on Kids' Education?

CBS’ “60 Minutes” (Nov. 22) referenced Kathryn Leifheit, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health scholar, in a report that referenced research that found evictions led to a total of 433,700 excess cases and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. from the beginning of the pandemic until the CDC's national order in September.

COVID-19: Confronting the Pandemic

Bloomberg (Nov. 22, starts at 25:48) interviewed Christina Ramirez, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, about taking precautions during the holiday season and beyond. “Whenever you have large gatherings, the more people that are at a gathering, the higher the probability that at least one person in there is infected,” Ramirez said. “Indoors is always going to be more risky than outdoors.”

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: Advisory Board Without Nurses Won’t do Much Good

The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 28) published a letter to the editor by Jack Needleman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, about the need for nurses to be included on President-elect Joe Biden’s pandemic advisory committee. “While the physical and emotional demands of nursing are understood by the public, the role nurses play in assessing and monitoring patients and intervening where necessary; implementing, adjusting and coordinating prescribed treatments; and organizing and managing care is not appreciated,” Needleman wrote. “Any board or task force trying to analyze and improve care that does not include the expertise of nurses is frankly incompetent to do its work.”

COVID-19: Are Los Angeles County’s new Restrictions Really Necessary?

The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 27) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about Los Angeles County’s newest restrictions on gatherings and venues in the face of the current upswing in the number of confirmed cases. “With this rapidly increasing number of cases, we are seeing what could be described as a ‘snowball effect,’ in that the size of the snowball, i.e. community transmission, as it rolls down the hill is gaining momentum and speed, and becoming alarmingly large,” Kim-Farley said. “We now have widespread community transmission, so transmission is occurring at a number of different venues.”

COVID-19: A Short Guide to Quarantining After Holiday Travel

The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 27) cited Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, in a piece about self-quarantining after holiday travel. Kim-Farley “said people should think of quarantine as the middle position between isolation (what you do when you know you are infected) and “normal” pandemic life.”

COVID-19: Chinese Researchers Suggest Coronavirus Elsewhere Before Wuhan Outbreak

The South China Morning Post (Nov. 27) interviewed Dr. Marc Suchard, Fielding School professor of biostatistics, about the reliability of the methods used in a non –peer-reviewed Chinese study of the origins of the coronavirus that leads to COVID-19. “Picking the viral sequence that appears to have the least number of differences to the others in an arbitrary collection is unlikely to yield the progenitor,” Suchard said. Research “holds great promise in helping us understand the emergence and spread of viral pathogens, what we can learn comes with considerable uncertainty.”

COVID-19: Locals Mostly Heed Health Experts, Stay Home on Black Friday

The Long Beach Post (Nov. 27) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about the health risks of shopping on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. “It’s very challenging to ensure that there are six feet of distance all around,” Shafir said.

COVID-19: Officials Worry About Virus Spread at Restaurants

USA Today (Nov. 26) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about infections among restaurant customers leading to an increase in takeout orders. “I don't want to ask someone else to take a risk that I’m unwilling to take,” Shafir said. It also ran on California Healthline.

COVID-19: Infections are Higher Than Ever, but Deaths are not

The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 25) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about lower mortality rates in the pandemic. “There’s still no silver bullet, but all these little incremental things are making a measurable impact on our ability to keep people from dying or having severe disease,” Kim-Farley said. The story ran widely, including the Anchorage Daily News.

COVID-19: UCLA Needs Strong Plan as Winter Case Surge Begins

The Daily Bruin (Nov. 25) interviewed Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology, about the exponential rise in the number of cases. “The current count is higher than it’s ever been; we are breaking that record day after day,” Shafir said. “It’s entirely likely that if we do not do more to effectively control transmission, we are going to overwhelm our health care capacity.”

COVID-19: With Cold Weather Forcing Patrons Inside, How Safe are Restaurants?

The Jewish Voice (Nov. 25) quoted Dr. Peter Katona, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about if dining out is safe. “The fact is that anything that’s done between walls indoors is high-risk, no matter how you slice it, no matter how you tent it,” Katona said.

COVID-19: Pandemic Strikes Rutland Schools

The Mountain Times (Nov. 25, Vermont) quoted interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about a Vermont program to regularly test school staff to give the state a better picture of the virus’s spread. “People who work in schools by definition are employed,” Brewer said. “So that’s already going to make them different from people who are either unemployed, or who work in the informal economy, or work at home.”

COVID-19: California Businesses go From Simmer to Boil

U.S. News & World Report (Nov. 24) interviewed Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about business owners’ resistance to guidelines on the pandemic. “There are people who are protecting their employment, protecting their income,” Mays said. “There are no stimulus checks coming. There’s no alternative.” The story also ran on California Healthline and KHN.

COVID-19: Research Helps Identify High-Risk Populations in Pandemic

News Medical (Nov. 24) quoted Christina Ramirez, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of biostatistics, about her Epidemics study that developed analyses to identify those most at risk from the pandemic. “The workforce population with ages from 18–59 have a higher infection rate comparing with children, adolescents, and other senior citizens, except for people in their 80 and above,” Ramirez said. “We also found that the elevated infection and mortality risk for males and greater mortality risk for all races increase with age.” Dr. Marc Suchard, Fielding School professor of biostatistics and a study co-author, was also quoted. Similar stories ran on Health News Digest and Science News.

COVID-19: New Stay-Home Order Looms for L.A. County as Cases Soar to new Highs

The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 23) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the possibility of another shutdown in Los Angeles County. “We need to be examining all of our options and put all of the possible methods of control on the table,” Kim-Farley said.

COVID-19: Takes Toll on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities

The Honolulu Star Advertiser (Nov. 23) on the efforts in Hawaii to address COVID-19 cited data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander COVID-19 Data Lab on the high infection rates in the NHPI population, noting that there are states across the U.S. with NHPIs that are being hit hard.

COVID-19: With Holiday Travel a Risk, Students Have Different Thanksgiving Plans

TeenVogue (Nov. 23) interviewed Dr. Peter Katona, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the risks of travel during the pandemic. “Cases are still increasing exponentially and we don’t see the curve rounding out yet,” Katona said. “Don’t travel - It’s just not a risk that’s a wise thing to do. Do not travel.” He was also referenced in the Daily Bruin.

 

FEATURES (Other)

Los Angeles Medical School Receives $7.7-Million Grant From Bloomberg Philanthropies

The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 27) quoted Jessica Bodden, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health alumnus (MPH, '20) now attending Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) in Los Angeles, about a $7.7-million grant to CDU from Bloomberg Philanthropies that will reduce her student debt by $100,000. “I just remember feeling chills all over my body,” Bodden said. “Because for a little girl like me, from South L.A., I didn’t go to medical school on scholarships. I had to fight for every single scholarship that I won after I was admitted. So, it was just really nice just to have someone give.” A similar story ran on KTLA-TV.

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

The ASPPH Friday Letter (Nov. 27) 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 by Vickie Mays, by Christina Ramirez and Marc Suchard in Epidemics, and by Frederick Zimmerman in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Letter also listed an op-ed by Dr. Richard Jackson published in Scientific American and interviews of Vickie Mays in the Washington Post and of Anne Rimoin by Bloomberg News, as well as a presentation by Miriam Marlier on COVID-19’s connection with wildfires, air pollution, and public health. The Letter also reported Sudipto Banerjee’s election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the publication of a book by alumnus Dr. Diana Farid (MPH, '05).

Opinion: “As Biden Targets Climate Change, we Must Focus Attention on Public Health”

Environmental Health News (Nov. 25) published a commentary by Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on President-elect Joe Biden’s climate change policy. “Given the substantial health threats related to climate change – and that the medical care industry is 18 percent of the U.S. economy, 10 percent of the nation's workforce and five percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions - a robust health accounting is essential,” Jackson wrote. “We face a public health emergency. We must maintain a strong and powerful focus on the ways that public health can meet its mandate to create conditions where people can be healthy.”

Green Gentrification and Environmental Racism in Flushing

The Gotham Gazette (Nov. 25) quoted Lara Cushing, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the impact of redevelopment policies on existing neighborhoods. “Racism doesn’t only operate at an interpersonal level,” Cushing said. “Our society was set up with laws and zoning practices that maintain segregation. The whole system is not designed to bring about equality.” Cushing’s work was also referenced in pieces on Public News Service and Yes! Magazine.

AAAS Announces Leading Scientists Elected As 2020 Fellows

Science Magazine (Nov. 24) reported the 2020 elections of fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), including Sudipto Banerjee, professor and chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Opinion: We Need a National Institute of Climate Change and Health

Scientific American (Nov. 22) published a commentary by Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, on the need for federally-funded “National Institute of Climate Change and Health” as part of the National Institutes of Health division. “If there was any lingering doubt that climate change threatens human health and well-being, this year put it to rest,” wrote Jackson and his co-author, Dr. Howard Frumkin, former dean of the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. “2020 reinforced another lesson: If we don’t prepare for health disasters and manage them skillfully, informed by the best evidence, then people suffer and die needlessly.”