New resources for covering the virus that’s changed our world

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

COVID-backgrounder

Photo: Babette Plana via Flickr

What a year it’s been for health care journalism to shine.

On Jan. 5, 2020, the World Health Organization issued a press release announcing a pneumonia of “unknown-cause” was circulating in Wuhan, China. By mid-January, Chinese scientists identified the cause as a coronavirus, eventually dubbed SARS-CoV-2, and publicly shared the virus’s genetic sequence. The disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19.

As of Jan. 4, 2021, more than 85.3 million people globally have been infected with the virus and more than 1.8 million have died. In the U.S., more than 20.6 million have been infected and 351,872 died, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Research Center.

As you look for sources to expand your coverage in 2021, don’t miss AHCJ’s updated COVID-19 tip sheet and backgrounder here.

Here are some of the sources in the backgrounder that are used most often by AHCJ members for covering COVID-19:

  • Twitter and curated email lists like this one created by Ellie Murray, an epidemiology professor at Boston University School of Health. I’ve made one that you can find
  • Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center for the most recent data on tracking, testing, tracing and vaccines
  • The COVID Tracking Project was founded by two journalists early in the pandemic and is now run by a team of volunteer journalists, data-gatherers and scientists. The site collects information from 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and five other U.S. territories on testing, patient outcomes and racial and ethnic demographics.
  • COVID-19 Data Dispatch, a terrific newsletter by data journalist Betsy Ladyhetz, who talked to AHCJ last summer about her work. I’ve gotten many story ideas from it.
  • 50 Experts to Trust in a Pandemic: This Elemental article provides a great round up of diverse and excellent health and science experts for journalists to contact for their stories.
  • Poynter Institute’s Covering COVID-19: A free daily coronavirus briefing for journalists. Al Tompkins provides a treasure trove of ideas for reporters every day. Sign up here.
  • COVID-19 Expanded Resource Center: The Infectious Diseases Society of America hosts regular briefings for media with infectious disease physicians. If you aren’t on their press list, contact Camille Ahearn to be added: cahearn@messagepartnerspr.com.

We invite you to check out AHCJ’s updated COVID-19 tip sheet and backgrounder and we welcome your input on resources we may have missed. You can reach me, AHCJ’s infectious diseases core topic leader, at bara@healthjournalism.org.

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