Author Archives: Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida

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.

Fauci says school reopening ‘may not be prudent’ in some areas


Anthony S. Fauci

Communities and school leaders need to exercise common sense as they weigh options for reopening schools this fall, said Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Thursday.

While communities should make reopening schools a high priority, Fauci said, the safety of students and teachers is the most important factor to consider. Continue reading

Community transmission rate key to K-12 school reopening

school busAs school leaders and parents grapple with questions about school reopening this fall, a key measure to consider is the community transmission rate of COVID-19, say two educators and an infectious disease specialist.

When states and cities are reporting that more than 5% of COVID-19 tests are positive, the transmission rate is high enough that schools could become hot spots for community outbreaks, they said. Continue reading

Superbug threat increased by COVID-19

Photo: Matt Gibson via Flickr

A little-reported side effect of surging COVID-19 cases is the likelihood that there will be an increasing number of people exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

At least 15 percent to 20 percent of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, develop a secondary bacterial infection, requiring the use of antibiotics. As a result, most hospitals are prescribing antibiotics pre-emptively to hospitalized COVID-19 patients, heightening the likelihood that more bacteria are adapting and developing resistance to these antibiotics. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to explore how schools might safely reopen this fall

Photo: Phil Roeder via Flickr

America’s 13,000 school systems have been under tremendous pressure to reopen in-person classes this fall but are struggling with how to do it safely and handle the increased costs.

The CDC on July 23 launched a webpage highlighting what it described as science-based resources and tools to guide school administrators, childcare providers, teachers and parents in resuming operations. Some of the content, however, has been criticized by experts who advocate a more cautious approach. Continue reading

Journalist offers advice on breaking news in the time of COVID-19

Photo: ChiralJon via FlickrRendering of hydroxychloroquine molecular structure.

The National Institutes of Health last month halted a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for use in treating COVID-19 patients. The NIH ended the trial because the antimalarial drug, while safe, was proven to have no benefit to hospitalized patients.

The decision came just three months after President Trump declared the drug a “game-changer” and arranged for the U.S. to purchase 29 million doses to be “immediately available” to the public for treating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Continue reading

Professor helps journalists report on assessing COVID-19 transmission risks

Photo: New York National Guard via Flickr

Scientists now have a much better idea of how people become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

But public health guidelines for how to prevent spread have been confusing. There have been mixed messages provided by federal, state and local government leaders, which has left many people hungry for information about how to assess their risks, as businesses reopen and summer vacation plans are looming.

To help fill the information gap, Dr. Erin Bromage, a University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth associate biology professor who has spent much of his career utilizing infection control measures in his animal research work, created a blog called “COVID-19 Musings.” Continue reading