Upcoming webcast: Covering airborne transmission, masks and virus variants

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.

Photo: Département des Yvelines via Flickr

Photo: Département des Yvelines via Flickr

With falling COVID-19 infection and mortality numbers as well as increasing vaccinations, pressure is growing to reopen businesses and schools to in-person learning.

But questions remain about COVID-19 transmission, the best ways to create safe indoor environments and how new variants of the virus may change public health advice on reopening businesses and schools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization say that COVID-19’s primary transmission route is through respiratory droplets between close contacts and, in some circumstances, through the air in enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. Continue reading

AHCJ member news: New jobs, fellowships, awards and more for health journalists

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

crowd clapping congratulationsThis edition of member news includes accomplishments from AHCJ members Benjamin Hardy, Melissa Patrick, Kelsey Ryan and Bram Sable-Smith. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

About Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He is an assistant professor of professional practice at the Missouri School of Journalism. Smiley comes to AHCJ from a sports broadcasting background, including nearly a decade at the Golf Channel/NBC Sports and a decade at ESPN, where he won an Emmy.

Welcome new membersPlease welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ.

All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves. Continue reading

Journalism partners unveil National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships program for 2021-22

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

National Science-Health-Environment Reporting FellowshipsJournalists interested in building careers reporting on science, health and the environment are eligible to apply for new cross-cutting fellowships designed to provide training, networking, mentoring, new sources and story ideas, while allowing them to stay at their jobs.

The National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships are a first-ever collaboration of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW), the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). The year-long fellowships are open to early-career journalists interested in covering any or all of the three fields.

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Resources for journalists covering COVID-19 “long-haulers”

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.

Coronavirus CG Illustration

Photo: Yuri Samoilov via Flickr

COVID-19 has been around for just a year, so research about the long-term impact of the disease is sparse, but early data indicate that around 10% to 15% of those infected have symptoms for many weeks, even months, after tests show their body is no longer infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Two medical experts – Kathleen Bell, M.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Allison Navis, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Neuro-Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai – shared this data and other information about what is known about COVID “long-haulers” during a Feb. 12 media briefing hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. You can watch a recording of the briefing here. Continue reading

As ACA marketplaces reopen for a special enrollment, health care journalists have a bigger role than ever

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

According to a KFF report on marketplace eligibility among the uninsured, more than half of the uninsured who could get a free bronze plan live in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, or Georgia. Other states with large shares of uninsured residents who could sign up for a no-premium bronze plan include Alabama, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Source: Marketplace Eligibility Among the Uninsured: Implications for a Broadened Enrollment Period and ACA Outreach, KFF, Jan. 27, 2021.According to a KFF report on marketplace eligibility among the uninsured, more than half of the uninsured who could get a free bronze plan live in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, or Georgia. Other states with large shares of uninsured residents who could sign up for a no-premium bronze plan include Alabama, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

On Monday, the Biden administration reopened the marketplaces for the Affordable Care Act for three months under a special open enrollment period.

As health care journalists we may want to consider the civic duty we have to explain some of the problems consumers are likely to face during this special enrollment period (SEP) through May 15.

One of our primary obligations may be to explain how consumers can avoid getting ripped off or being stuck with a health insurance policy that does not provide the full coverage consumers need. (See details below on how scammers have preyed on consumers seeking ACA-compliant coverage.) Continue reading