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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of September 13, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
September 13, 2020 to September 19, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: Mixed messages from Trump Administration may lead to ineffective vaccine campaign

CNN (Sept. 19) 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 politicization of federal public health organizations leading to increases in vaccine hesitancy. “Even if a vaccine is very effective, if less than half the population actually take it, we’re not going to reach any kind of immunity,” Rimoin said. “The President in principle has to be someone that you trust, and we are seeing a complete erosion of trust ... the mixed messaging is dangerous.”

COVID-19: What the science says is if you give the virus a chance to spread, it will

CNN (Sept. 17) 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 President Trump’s recent statements about the state of the U.S. response to the pandemic, which includes 6.6 million confirmed cases and almost 200,000 deaths. “This is not a political issue, it should not be a political issue – we’re talking about virus transmissions,” Rimoin said. “What we really need is a national strategy, which we have not had.”

COVID-19: Fact vs. fiction on collision of COVID-19 and flu season

MSNBC (Sept. 17) 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 importance of the flu vaccine, especially during the pandemic. “Everybody should be getting a flu shot this year,” Rimoin said. “It is the one way we can reduce the number of cases of influenza and lower the burden on our medical system, which is also going to get overwhelmed if we have too many cases of influenza in addition to coronavirus.” The interview also ran on Yahoo News.

COVID-19: Latinos report financial strain as pandemic erodes income and savings

NPR (Sept. 16) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the impact of the pandemic on Latinos in California, where there has been a five-fold increase in working-aged Latinos dying from the coronavirus since May. “These are workers usually in their prime years — peak earning power and everything else,” Hayes-Bautista said. “Latinos between 50 and 69, those are the ones that are being hit the hardest. That's pretty worrying.”

COVID-19: Coronavirus could have been in the US as early as December

CNN (Sept. 16) referenced Dr. Joann Elmore, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about her Journal of Medical Internet Research study that found a 50% increase in patients with respiratory complaints at UCLA Health hospitals and clinics in December through February, compared with the same period in the previous five years. Elmore’s co-authors include FSPH dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer and doctoral student Douglas Morrison. A similar item ran in The Nation (India).

COVID-19: Effective vaccinations world-wide may take until 2024, health experts say

CNN (Sept. 14) 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 long it may take to get a vaccine distributed, even if one is developed. “This is the crux of the issue. Just having a vaccine that is safe and effective is step one in the process of being able to get the world vaccinated,” Rimoin said. “If you think about just the logistics of getting these vaccines to the places where they will be distributed, it’s going to be massive.”

COVID-19: Indoors political rallies are “a perfect storm for more spread of the virus”

CNN (Sept. 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 President Trump’s decision to hold political rallies indoors during the pandemic. “We’re watching a perfect storm for more spread of the virus,” Rimoin said. “This is absolutely the opposite of what we need to see happening; we need to see leadership from the top (that’s) modeling good public health behavior from the very top. Instead, we are seeing the opposite and it is dangerous.” A version of the story ran on at least 20 other outlets, including MSN and KEYT-TV (Santa Barbara), among others.

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: California’s individualism proves costly in coronavirus fight

The Los Angeles Daily News (Sept. 19) published a commentary by Dr. Jonathan Fielding, UCLA FSPH distinguished professor of health policy and management, and Dr. Steven M. Teutsch, professor of health policy and management at FSPH, about the course of the pandemic in California. “To be effective, public health decisions must be science-based,” they wrote. “While there is something to be said for making provisions to meet the specific needs of a particular population or locale when trying to implement health policies, the example of California, particularly counties in the southern part of the state, illustrates how inconsistent actions at the local level are doomed to fail.” Ellie Faustino, an FSPH research associate, also contributed to the piece, which ran in all 11 Southern California Newspaper Group papers, as part of a special report - Six months of coronavirus in Southern California: What have we lost? – documenting the pandemic. These include the Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, Riverside Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, Long Beach Press-Telegram, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star News, Torrance Daily Breeze, Whittier Daily News, Ontario-Pomona Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, and Redlands Daily Facts. The piece was also picked up by World News and News Break.

COVID-19: How early was COVID-19 in the U.S.?

Infectious Disease Special Edition (Sept. 18) interviewed Dr. Joann Elmore, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about her Journal of Medical Internet Research study that found a 50% increase in patients with respiratory complaints at UCLA Health hospitals and clinics in December through February, compared with the same period in the previous five years. “You could say that maybe this was a bad year for influenza. But this would be really, really bad,” Elmore said. “Again, we saw numbers well above what you’d expect by chance.” Elmore’s co-authors include FSPH dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer and doctoral student Douglas Morrison.

COVID-19: Airports drop screening for international passengers: how to stay safe

Verywell Health (Sept. 18) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about the decision by the U.S. government stop pandemic-related screenings for international travelers upon arrival. “The program did not prevent SARS-CoV-2 from coming into California,” Brewer said. “Because individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 may be asymptomatic at the time they travel, screening programs may miss potentially infectious persons … stopping screening programs will allow public health agencies to focus on more effective programs.”

COVID-19: Online post misstates Sturgis Rally's coronavirus cases

USA Today (Sept. 17) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, in a fact check article about confirmed infections arising from the Sturgis (S.D.) motorcycle rally in August. Current reported cases may just be "the tip of the iceberg," Kim-Farley said, since symptoms might not show up for weeks, if at all, in an infected person, and so a person could be spreading the virus without knowing. The article also ran on Yahoo Sports.

COVID-19: Is California turning the corner on the pandemic?

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 17) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about what appears to be some success beating back the coronavirus. “Everything is moving in the right direction, so I would personally be positive,” Brewer said. “As long as community transmission exists, as long as it’s higher than zero, it can come back.” The story ran in multiple other outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian, and Stars and Stripes, among others.

COVID-19: Meager meals, dirty rooms: Life in ‘Quarantine U’

WebMD (Sept. 17) interviewed Dr. Timothy Brewer, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology, about how universities can ease the risk of coronavirus for their students. “They don’t necessarily have the public health expertise necessary for this,” Brewer said. “The way most housing is designed is multi-person, and the challenge with monitoring is they don't really have the staff to do that.”

COVID-19: How the pandemic is quietly killing off Latino workers

Salud America (Sept. 17) quoted David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the impact of the pandemic on Latinos in California, where there has been a five-fold increase in working-aged Latinos dying from the coronavirus since May. “Anything that threatens the stability of our economy, like COVID-19’s inroads into the working-age population, needs to be taken seriously,” Hayes-Bautista said. “The virus is falling on the working-age population, and the young Latino population is disproportionately represented in this demographic.”

COVID-19: How you can get a flu shot in Southern California

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 16) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the importance of flu vaccinations, especially during the pandemic. “The flu vaccine is important in all years, but this year it’s even more important,” Kim-Farley said. “As much as we try to be careful, we still are going to have need sometimes of being exposed when we go out on an essential errand, even if we try to practice good physical distancing, hand-washing, et cetera … you just never can be totally certain.”

COVID-19: ‘Pandemic hoax’ videos and conspiracy theories debunked by experts

AFP (Sept. 16) quoted 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 falsehoods regarding the pandemic, including suggestions that patients may be put on ventilators out of financial gain rather than medical need. “Basically (that’s) saying physicians are violating their Hippocratic Oath,” Kominski said. “It would be like providing heart surgery on someone who doesn’t need it.”

COVID-19: Why weddings are a bad idea, and what is and isn’t acceptable

People (Sept. 15) 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 inherent in a wedding during the pandemic. “Don’t go,” Rimoin said. “Right now, we all have to do our part… The rules of virus transmission remain the same. There’s no bending the rules because you have a special event.” It also ran on MSN.

COVID-19: How to DIY a Halloween candy slider for trick-or-treating 2020

Parents (Sept. 15) 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 risks from the pandemic and Halloween. “All of the guidelines suggested for day-to-day prevention of the spread of coronavirus are still in effect: social distancing, wear a mask, and proper hand-washing hygiene,” Rimoin said.

COVID-19: Wildfire smoke is causing a new public health crisis on the West Coast

Buzzfeed (Sept. 15) interviewed Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs, about whether the smoke from wildfires may also make people more vulnerable to COVID-19. “The air quality on the West Coast is terrible,” Zhu said. “It’s one public health crisis on top of another public health crisis.”

COVID-19: Latino workforce is most at risk

Capital & Main (Sept. 15) quoted David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the impact of the pandemic on Latinos in California, where there has been a five-fold increase in working-aged Latinos dying from the coronavirus since May. “COVID-19 associated deaths are burning their way through the entire Latino working-age population,” Hayes-Bautista said. “Different from the high-profile essential workers such as physicians, nurses, first responders, etc., the unsung essential workers are farmworkers who feed California, truck drivers who transport the state’s goods, meat and vegetable packers, the grocery industry’s shelf-stockers.” Paul Hsu, assistant professor of epidemiology and co-author of the report, was also referenced. A version of the story was reprinted by LA Progressive.

COVID-19: Lehigh University team to study health toll

The Lehigh News (Sept. 15) quoted Fathima Wakeel, a UCLA Fielding School of Public Health alumnus (PhD, ’09), about an effort to  examine the physical and mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, community. “We have already observed that the pandemic has shed light on existing health inequities at the community, state, and national levels and has further deepened these inequities,” said Wakeel, an associate professor in Lehigh University’s College of Health and the study’s lead. “Though community and state public health, medical, and human service organizations have mobilized quickly to address the epidemic, it is likely that these inequities may further worsen as the epidemic continues to sweep the region, the state and the country.”

COVID-19: The coronavirus economy hurts Los Angeles’ Latinos the most

LAist (Sept. 14) interviewed David Hayes-Bautista, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about the impact of the pandemic on Latinos in California, where there has been a five-fold increase in working-aged Latinos dying from the coronavirus since May. “In Washington, the idea is you're poor because you don't work. That's not the issue with Latinos,” Hayes-Bautista said. “Latinos work. But they're poor. The problem is, we don't pay them … in April the Latino [labor force participation] rate bounced right back up and actually has continued to increase slowly, whereas the non-Latino rate is dropping. The reward that Latinos have for their high work ethic is a high rate of poverty.”

COVID-19: Pandemic, climate change complicating record-breaking California wildfires, heat and smog

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 13) interviewed Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs, about how the pandemic has added an additional layer of complexity as Californians try to protect their homes, lungs, and bodies from multiple threats. “When you add COVID, extreme heat, wildfires and air pollution all together, they’re all detrimental to public health, and it just makes things worse,” Zhu said. “These stressors are happening at the same time. So the impact is cumulative and maybe even synergistic to each other.” It also ran in at least 15 other outlets, including the Bakersfield Californian and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

 

FEATURES (Other)

Los Angeles suffered deadly heat, yet chairs sat empty at its cooling centers

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 19) interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about the utility of cooling centers set up by the City of Los Angeles as a response to the extreme heat in the region over Labor Day weekend. “Cooling centers are relatively underutilized across the U.S.,” Eisenman said. “If it’s a library, people will go to a library and use that. If it’s a senior center they’ve gone to, they’ll be happy to go on an extreme heat day; (otherwise) you’re not necessarily going to take the leap.”

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

The ASPPH Friday Letter (Sept. 18) reported nine items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included a Q&A with FSPH dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer; Brookmeyer, Dr. Joann Elmore, and biostatistics scholar Douglas Morrison were all referenced in an item about a COVID-19-related study, as was by Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management, about a separate COVID-19 study. Also listed were interviews of Chandra Ford, professor of Community Health Sciences, in The Appeal; Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences, in the Los Angeles Times; Dena Herman, associate professor of community health sciences, in Contemporary Pediatrics; and Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, by the American Journal of Public Health. The Letter also listed two FSPH events, professor of health policy and management Gerald Kominski’s appearance at the Oct. 9 Paul Torrens Health Forum, and the Sept. 29 joint seminar by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and UCLA, with the involvement of Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, distinguished professor of epidemiology; Dr. Timothy Brewer, professor of epidemiology; Dr. Zunyou Wu, adjunct professor of epidemiology, Brookmeyer, and Zhu, among others.

UCLA Fielding School study: Adults in good health more likely to vote

MyNewsLA (Sept. 17) reported on a study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research,led by Ninez Ponce, professor of health policy and management, which found Californians in good health are more likely to vote. “We found differences in voting by health and neighborhood factors that suggest that people who vote are healthier, have better access to health care and live in more cohesive and safer neighborhoods than those who don’t vote,” said Susan Babey, the study’s lead author and a senior research scientist at the center. “These differences in civic activities such as voting could contribute to policies that fail to meet the health needs of Californians who are less healthy, face barriers in access to health care and live in disadvantaged communities, which may in turn lead to greater inequities in health.” Also referenced was CHPR researcher Joelle Wolstein. The article ran in at least a dozen outlets, including the Los Angeles Patch and Times of San Diego.

As wildfire smoke becomes a part of life on the West Coast, so do its health risks

The Washington Post (Sept. 16) interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about simple ways to cope with poor air quality by cleaning the air inside a home and avoiding exertion. “Make one room your refuge, get a high-power HEPA filter in your bedroom and seal off the windows as much as you can,” Jerrett said. He said the dense smoke is a bigger danger for anyone with a respiratory ailment, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, and long-term exposure can contribute to heart attacks, strokes and, possibly, depression and anxiety.

The air we breathe

The New York Times (Sept. 15) referenced Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs, in a column about weather and wildfires on the U.S. West Coast. The article was also referenced in Scary Mommy.