Photo: NIAID via FlickrAn electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round gold objects) emerging from the surface of lab-cultured cells.
Writing about how the various COVID-19 vaccines work and the challenges that may lie with emerging genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 can be challenging for journalists, as it requires explaining the technicalities of genetics in layman’s terms.
Independent journalist Marla Broadfoot, who has a doctorate in genetics and molecular biology, suggests using metaphors and asking sources to elaborate on favorite metaphors they’ve used to explain virus genetics and the COVID-19 vaccine to family and friends. Continue reading
Deaths among nursing home residents in New York state have been underreported by as much as 50%, according to a new report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James. James has been investigating nursing homes’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March following allegations of patient neglect and other concerning conduct that may have jeopardized the health and safety of residents and facility employees throughout the state.
Among the report’s findings: many more nursing home residents died from COVID-19 than was reflected in data published by the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Continue reading
I’ve written previously on Covering Health about the potential harms of reporting on surveys and polls about people’s intent to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In late September, the FDA had not yet authorized any vaccines, so any poll or survey questions were theoretical. Now that vaccines are in distribution, however, does that change things?
Well, yes and no. At that time, I also wrote that vaccine hesitancy wasn’t what we needed to worry about— instead, it was access and equity. Continue reading
There is a growing amount of concern in the U.S. about SARS-CoV-2 variants and the possibility they may diminish the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
The story is evolving. On Jan. 25, the Minnesota Department of Health said a variant, first found in Brazil, was found in a patient in Minnesota. On Jan. 28, the CDC announced that a variant, first found in South Africa, was found in South Carolina. Both variants have shown a potential to reduce vaccine effectiveness. [See this piece by AHCJ’s Tara Haelle on understanding the nuances of vaccine efficacy.] Continue reading
President Joe Biden wears a mask in a social media image announcing a mask mandate on federal property, launching his “100 Day Masking Challenge” as part of the country’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
On Jan. 21, President Biden published a 200-page national plan for combating the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the next one.
It is a stark contrast to former President Trump, whose coronavirus task force never created a national plan for responding to the pandemic and instead left it up to states and their health departments to determine strategies for ending the pandemic, resulting in a patchwork of plans that did little to stop the pandemic.
Biden put federal heft behind his national plan, directing agencies to focus on seven goals: Continue reading
A new New York Times perspective piece on whether we’re underselling the various COVID-19 vaccines had public health Twitter abuzz on Jan. 18, with responses ranging from high fives to intense critique. My reaction was in the latter camp. The points I made in this thread (unrolled here) are essential to consider for all journalists reporting on all vaccines and for this virus in particular. I’ve touched on these issues multiple times in the past, particularly the importance of knowing: