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 FSPH In The News

FSPH In The News - for the week of September 6, 2020 - 12:00am

Week of: 
September 6, 2020 to September 12, 2020

FEATURES (COVID-19 broadcast)

COVID-19: Air quality, the pandemic, and wildfires in California

KLAC-AM (Sept. 12, begins at 1:05:00) interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the combined impact of bad air quality and wildfires on the pandemic, and the university’s new UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions. “We’re looking at whether people who live in chronically higher air pollution areas like Riverside in southern California compared to say, Santa Monica, progress to more severe disease states more quickly,” Jerrett said. “We’re trying to look at whether the long term exposure to air pollutions sets someone up for those sorts of terrible effects that can make COVID much worse.”

COVID-19: The spread of the pandemic on college campuses

CNN (Sept. 11) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about the growth of the pandemic on college campuses. “It is a huge problem and it is not a problem that was not foreseeable,” Rimoin said. “We all knew that kids going back into school was going to create a situation where we were going to see very large numbers occur.”

COVID-19: How the pandemic has affected the Latino community in Los Angeles

KPCC-FM (Sept. 11) 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. “Those are the ones who are being hit hardest. That's pretty worrying.” The report also ran on NPR and eight other affiliates, including WCBU-FM (Illinois).

COVID-19: The pandemic is hitting Latino workers the most, and it’s a problem for the U.S. economy

Radio Bilingue (Sept. 11) 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, and by extension, the state’s economy. “When talking about how COVID has affected us, we must talk not how it only affects Latinos but how COVID affects the eighth economy of the world.” Hayes-Bautista said. “COVID is hitting Latino workers the most. It's not a problem, let's say, (simply for) Latinos. It's a problem for the US economy. Latinos have maintained California's economy and society.” Hayes-Bautista was interviewed separately by RadioBilingue for a second story on Latinos and Labor Day, as well.

COVID-19: Could COVID have been circulating here since December?

KNX-AM (Sept. 10, begins at 02:50) 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. “In March and April, many of my colleagues at UCLA were wondering if the patients we had seen a few months earlier, with really severe symptoms, could they have had COVID,” Elmore said. “We started with our clinics and searched almost 10 million records, (and) we saw that this winter, there was a 50% increase in patients coming to our clinics because of a complaint of a cough.” Elmore’s co-authors include FSPH dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer and doctoral student Douglas Morrison.

COVID-19: Black and Latinos' finances hit the hardest by pandemic, UCLA researchers find

KNBC-TV (Sept. 9) quoted Ninez Ponce, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management and director of FSPH’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, on how the pandemic hit Californians, based on a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. “When we started to see the impact that COVID-19 was going to have on the community, we felt called to produce data that can be used by decision-makers on who and how to assist during this unprecedented time,'” Ponce said. The story also ran on City News Service, KNTV-TV (San Francisco), and similar items ran in the Antelope Valley Times, Mirage News, and State of Reform.

 

FEATURES (COVID-19 text and online)

COVID-19: The best masks to wear when you work out

Men’s Journal (Sept. 12) 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 best practices during workouts. “A lot of masks use moisture-wicking materials and have a little bit of stretch to them, and that’s useful,” Rimoin said. “You want one that fits over the mouth and nose, and sits snug to the cheeks, while being flexible enough to bend as you move.”

COVID-19: A safe Halloween during the pandemic?

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 11) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about how to have a safe Halloween during the pandemic. “Viruses don’t take holidays,” Rimoin said. “Until the community has low transmission rates, lots of things won’t be back to normal. The way a virus transmits doesn’t change because we’re in holiday mode. In fact, it often makes us less cautious because our guard is down. We have to accept the fact that the virus is dictating the precautions we have to take.” It also ran on Yahoo Lifestyle.

COVID-19: Wildfires add to safety worries for MLB, NFL

The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 11) interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, about the combined impact of wildfires and the pandemic on major league sports. “The conditions produce what Jerrett called a “double jeopardy” effect.

COVID-19: Public restrooms are major germ zones

Health (Sept. 11) interviewed Anne Rimoin, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health, about best practices during the pandemic, including in public restrooms. “Make sure not to touch your mask after touching anything within the bathroom, from door or stall handles to faucets or soap dispensers,” Rimoin said. “Anything you touched can contaminate the screen of your phone, and you're guaranteed to be touching it the rest of the day.” It also ran on MSN Health and MSN Arabia.

COVID-19: Wildfires provide another reason to mask up

Direct Relief (Sept. 11) quoted Dr. Richard Jackson, professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about which masks provide the best protection during fire season and the current pandemic. “I think this is the new normal for the 21st century,” Jackson said. “You keep flashlight batteries in your house, and you keep good quality masks.”

COVID-19: High numbers of Los Angeles patients complained about coughs as early as December, study says

The Washington Post (Sept. 10) 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. “This is consistent with the growing body of data that suggests that there’s been community spread much earlier than we had anticipated,” Elmore said. “People weren’t paying attention to the outpatient setting.” Elmore’s co-authors include FSPH dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer and doctoral student Douglas Morrison.

COVID-19: Arrived in U.S. near Christmas — earlier than thought, UCLA study says

The Sacramento Bee (Sept. 10) 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. “We may never truly know if these excess patients represented early and undetected COVID-19 cases in our area,” Elmore said. “But the lessons learned from this pandemic, paired with health care analytics that enable real-time surveillance of disease and symptoms, can potentially help us identify and track emerging outbreaks and future epidemics.” The story also ran in the Fresno Bee.

COVID-19: Disease may have reached Los Angeles even before China announced its outbreak

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 10) 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. “A significantly higher number of patients with respiratory complaints and diseases starting in late December 2019 and continuing through February 2020 suggests community spread of SARS-CoV-2 prior to established clinical awareness and testing capabilities,” Elmore and her co-authors wrote. “It is possible that some of this excess represents early COVID-19 disease before clinical recognition and testing.” Elmore’s co-authors include FSPH dean and professor of biostatistics Ron Brookmeyer and doctoral student Douglas Morrison. Similar stories were run by more than 200 other outlets, including KTTV-TV, KCBS-TV, Fox News, KNBC-TV, the Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, U.S. News & World Report, Xinhua, Los Angeles Magazine, MyNewsLA, Excelsior (Spanish), and Science Blog.

COVID-19: Do you need 'computer' glasses for tired eyes?

AARP Health (Sept. 10) interviewed Anne Coleman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and professor of ophthalmology, UCLA Stein Eye Institute, about whether those working from home because of the pandemic, or anyone else, should invest in so-called “computer glasses” that to filter out blue light. “The literature shows there is no evidence of any harm from blue light to the eyes, (and) there's no evidence that shows blue-blocking lenses or filters make any difference at all,” Coleman said. “When you're at the computer, you're focusing, and research shows that your blinking frequency decreases …. under normal circumstances, we blink about 15 times a minute, but we blink half of that to one-third of that amount when using digital devices. That's hard on your eyes.”

COVID-19: Antibody tests provide information about immunity, spread

The Daily Bruin (Sept. 10) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about antibody testing during the pandemic. “Antibody testing allows us to keep our fingers on the pulse of the community,” Kim-Farley said. ““Your body doesn’t have amnesia to what (a) virus vaccine was … even though your antibody levels are low or even undetectable, if you were then challenged with the virus, you would have a rapid response of antibody production, you should still be protected.”

COVID-19: How effective has the U.S. response been to the pandemic?

The American Journal of Public Health (Sept. 9) interviewed Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the effectiveness of the U.S. response to the pandemic. “Firstly, is the importance of clear and consistent messaging so that at all levels that same message is being done as to what people are supposed to do, in businesses and schools,” Kim-Farley said. “We have not sometimes had that, the scientific community has been on one side and the political community on another, and there has been divisions about that.”

COVID-19: Nutritional impact and the health crisis

The San Diego Union Tribune (Sept. 9) published a commentary on the disproportionate impact of pandemic on the Latino community features data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research on obesity and diabetes rates among people who live in lower-income communities and have worse food environments.

COVID-19: Wildfires, pandemic deliver one-two punch to West Coast cities

Smartcitiesdive (Sept. 8) interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about the multiple effects the pandemic has had on municipal governments’ fights against wildfires. “We’ll have weeks on end when wildfire and smoke events will force us indoors, restrict our activities, gray the summer skies,” Eisenman said. “People can tolerate a few days or a week, but if they can’t get outside to exercise or spend a Saturday in the woods or in the park, that becomes a more emotionally difficult situation.”

COVID-19: Experts warn about exposure during Labor Day weekend

Heavy (Sept. 7) quoted Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences, about the potential impact of the holiday on spread of the coronavirus. “It’s possible we could go back up again if people don’t follow the guidelines,” Kim-Farley said. It also ran on AhoraMismo (Spanish).

COVID-19: Are movie theaters safe?

Suara (Sept. 7, Indonesia) 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 whether going to a movie theater is a higher-risk activity. “Theaters bring people indoors and in close proximity for extended periods of time," Rimoin said. “The virus is transmitted by droplets when we talk, laugh and breathe. While the cinema is where you sit in a room full of strangers who eat and drink for two to three hours with minimal ventilation.” The story also ran in Terbaik News and Today Line, both in Indonesia.

 

FEATURES (Other)

A landfill in their backyard

CNN (Sept. 11) interviewed Dr. Beate Ritz, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and of environmental health sciences, about the potential results of an epidemiological study of Staten Island’s cancer rates in connection with the now-closed Fresh Kills landfill. “Do cancer screening, do cancer prevention efforts, listen to the community, and don’t sink money into a study that may or may not give you an answer,” Ritz said.

Tackling gas flaring with mini-LNG plants

The Nation (Sept. 11, Nigeria) referenced a study led by Lara Cushing, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and published in July in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, that found the risk of premature births is 50% higher for mothers near natural gas flaring in the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas region in Texas. It also ran on Latest Nigerian News.

How healthy are Starbucks’ breakfast items?

MEL (Sept. 11) interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about the healthiness of breakfast items at the popular coffer chain. “Either too high in sodium, too high in sugar, contains too many processed ingredients, like white flour, or contains far more meat and cheese than I’d like to see,” Hunnes said. “(The classic oatmeal) is still probably the best choice.”

What about postbiotics?

My Fitness Pal (Sept. 11) quoted Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about postbiotics, non-living metabolites produced by microorganisms during the fermentation process. “Postbiotics could also trigger your immune system, activating an anti-inflammatory response,” Hunnes said. “Some studies in patients with ulcerative colitis also seem to indicate fermented bacterias (like postbiotics) improved gastrointestinal functioning.”

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

The ASPPH Friday Letter (Sept. 11) reported seven items related to UCLA Fielding School of Public Health experts, FSPH efforts related to the pandemic, or other news. These included a commentary by Dr. Jonathan Fielding, professor of health policy and management, published by The Hill, and an interview in the Los Angeles Times; an interview of Dr. David Eisenman, professor of community health sciences, also in the Los Angeles Times; and an interview of Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences, by NBC Today. In addition, under “Events,” the Friday Letter listed a Sept. 17 presentation by Gilbert Gee, professor of community health sciences, at the United Kingdom College of Public Health, and Prof. Gerald Kominski’s appearance at the Oct. 9 Paul Torrens Health Forum. Under “School and Program Updates,” the Letter also listed FSPH’s joining the Planetary Health Alliance, and referenced Yifang Zhu, professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs, and Miriam Marlier, assistant professor of environmental health sciences.

Los Angeles suffers worst smog in almost 30 years

The Los Angeles Times (Sept. 10) interviewed Yifang Zhu, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and associate dean for academic programs, about how climate change is an underlying cause of the increase in smog. “The combination of a major wildfire and extreme heat can really send ozone levels through the roof,” Zhu said. “Both are important, and they came together at a very unfortunate time, and that helps explain why we were seeing such extreme levels of ozone last weekend (and) if we don’t do more than we are now to combat climate change, it’s going to happen again and again.” It also ran in at least 10 other outlets, including the Bakersfield Californian, the Solano County (CA) Daily Republic, the Santa Rosa (CA) Press-Democrat, and the Miami Herald.

Why is the air quality in Los Angeles so much worse today?

LAist (Sept. 10) interviewed Michael Jerrett, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences, on wildfires and their impact on air quality in Los Angeles. “It’s possible that they’re impacting air quality, just not on the local area,” Jerrett said. “With some of these mega wildfire complexes, you actually start seeing them affecting air quality literally thousands of miles away … they could potentially have impacts on the Great Lakes, all of the way from California.”

What do trendy nonalcoholic drinks offer?

MEL (Sept. 10) interviewed Dana Hunnes, assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, about non-alcoholic drinks manufacturers claim work as relaxants. “Basically, what they’re marketing is reductive medicine, which refers to stripping down an herb or root and trying to extract one or two benefits from it very specifically,” Hunnes said. “The problem is, companies don’t really have to prove what they say these ingredients do, and especially not what they claim a blend can do.”

Low-Income Californians face oral health disparities despite insurance

Dentistry Today (Sept. 9) quoted Nadereh Pourat, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, about findings that low-income California adults are less likely to receive timely dental care like regular checkups and are more likely to visit the dentist for specific problems than those with higher incomes. “Oral health is an integral part of overall health, and the lowest-income individuals have the least access and suffer the consequences,” Pourat said. “It is important to break down silos that perpetuate disparities in access to dental care. We can start by promoting parity in dental insurance.”

“Plant-based diets shine when looking at the gut microbiome”

Contemporary Pediatrics (Sept. 7) interviewed Dena Herman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor of community health sciences, about a study Herman led that found gut health in young children and pre-pubescent teenagers is particularly responsive to certain food groups. “The gut microbiome remains dynamic for children past three years of age and responds to dietary differences,” Herman said. “This represents an opportunity to learn healthy habits early in life so that they can be sustained over the life course to maximize health.”