Category Archives: COVID-19

Top 2023 policy stories: end of public health emergency and telehealth

“Public health legislation in the new Congress” session panelists Timothy McBride, professor of public health at Washington University in St. Louis.; Cara Tenenbaum, principal at Strathmore Health Strategy; Leann Chilton, vice president of government relations at BJC HealthCare (Photo by Zachary Linhares)

For journalists seeking important health care policy stories in 2023, look to the impact of the end of the public health emergency on Medicaid enrollment and how it may change the number of people who are uninsured, experts said on March 11 during “Public health legislation in the new Congress” session at Health Journalism 2023 in St. Louis. Federal action on telehealth and its impact on health equity and rural health care will also be key policy topics to follow during the year, they said.

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Panelists endorse collaborative ‘prebunking’ to stop toxic misinformation 

Washington Post reporter and panel moderator Lauren Weber, talks to JAMA Editor in Chief Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and co-moderator, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Fellow Irving Washington, during the “Malignant misinformation: The quest for a ‘cure'” roundtable discussion and awards luncheon at HJ23 in St. Louis. The second panelist, Garth Graham, M.D., global head of health care and public health at Google/YouTube, is not pictured, but participated via Zoom. (Photo by Zachary Linhares)

Scientific knowledge is no match for entrenched misinformation, JAMA Editor in Chief Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, M.D., told a luncheon crowd at Health Journalism 2023 on Saturday, March 11 in St. Louis. Just look at ivermectin.

JAMA recently published the fourth big, randomized trial to find that the antiparasitic medication doesn’t improve COVID symptoms. Yet Bibbins-Domingo said she is aware that no amount of high-quality evidence will quash persistent claims that ivermectin is a COVID miracle cure. At the same time, she said, ethical questions arise when researchers continue to study what many consider to be settled science.

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NIH leader highlights disproportionate impact of long COVID on Black and Hispanic adults

Gary Gibbons, M.D.

The disproportionate and long-term effect of COVID-19 on Americans of diverse racial and ethnic communities remains under covered, according to Gary Gibbons, M.D., head of the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Gibbons is one of several NIH leaders who oversee the NIH’s RECOVER initiative — a $1.15 billion federal research project that aims to provide a better understanding of who is at most risk of experiencing long COVID, why it occurs and how to treat it. (The definition of what constitutes long COVID is still evolving, but generally, patients describe it as having lingering symptoms, such as brain fog and fatigue, lasting for months, even years after initial infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.)

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Bivalent booster efficacy and covering vaccination rates among seniors

Photo by SHVETS production via pexels.

The CDC is urging everyone, especially older adults (65+) to get their bivalent COVID-19 booster as soon as possible. Among hospitalized seniors, the updated booster provided significant additional protection against hospitalization compared with being unvaccinated or only receiving monovalent vaccination. During the holiday season, in particular, they’re also encouraging all adults 65 and older to further protect themselves from infection by masking and social distancing when possible.

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Science writer addresses COVID-19 virus origin story in new book

David Quammen

Among the many controversies connected to the pandemic is the question: Where did SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, come from before it emerged in Wuhan, China in 2019?

Veteran science journalist David Quammen skillfully and artfully tackles this question in his recent book “Breathless: The Scientific Effort to Defeat a Deadly Virus.” It is a detective story about the source of the virus and what is known, as of 2022. It is also a great read for any journalist looking for context about how the SARS-CoV-2 virus likely emerged and who the knowledgeable scientists are to talk to as this story unfolds. 

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