Category Archives: Public health

COVID-19 plus flu season could overwhelm health care system

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.

Even a mild flu season could overwhelm already-stressed hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

Photo: Simon James via Flikr

As we start moving into fall and winter, Americans are certain to be facing a continuation of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 and the possibility of a widespread outbreak of the flu – a potential crisis that has a new name: “twindemic,” according to the Poynter Institute.

Even a mild flu season could overwhelm already-stressed hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. On average, 39 million to 56 million Americans are infected by the flu annually, and about half a million of them become so sick they require hospitalization, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading

N.C. journalist goes to Europe for lessons about opioid crisis

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.

NC Health News reporter Taylor Knopf interviews Thilo Beck, head of psychiatry at Arud Centre for Addiction Medicine inside a heroin-assisted treatment facility in Zurich, Switzerland.

Photo: Andy SpechtNC Health News reporter Taylor Knopf interviews Thilo Beck, head of psychiatry at Arud Centre for Addiction Medicine inside a heroin-assisted treatment facility in Zurich, Switzerland.

Last year, Taylor Knopf, a health care journalist at North Carolina Health News, spent more than a week out of a vacation to report on how France and Switzerland have been able to do what the health care system in the United States has so far failed to do: stem the tide of opioid-related deaths.

Knopf earned first place in AHCJ’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism Public Health (small) category for her six-part NCHN series, “Lessons from Abroad.” Continue reading

AHCJ backs public data about COVID-19 hospitalizations

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Hospital

Photo: Norman Mosjos via Flickr

The Association of Health Care Journalists strongly urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to keep public all data related to COVID-19 hospitalizations and to post the numbers as soon as they are available.

The Trump administration ordered hospitals to stop reporting COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send patient information to a central database in Washington, D.C., starting this week.

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Reporters suddenly thrown into health beat need veterans’ support

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.

In an op-ed for the Columbia Journalism Review, Ivan Oransky, M.D., draws on an apt metaphor for reporters from other beats who are being assigned health-related stories during this pandemic.

“I imagine that the dread a newly transferred coronavirus reporter feels when faced with a PDF filled with statistics is the same as I would feel if —as a career-long doctor turned medical journalist — I was suddenly assigned to cover the statehouse.”

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Use these COVID-19 clinical trial trackers to keep up with research

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

The Cytel/Gates Foundation’s Global Coronavirus COVID-19 Clinical Trial Tracker, as of April 14.

It can be exhausting to keep up with who is testing what in the race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and treatments for the disease it causes, COVID-19. More than two dozen vaccines are under development, and dozens of trials are underway to investigate whether any experimental or existing medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, can be repurposed to treat COVID-19 patients. Continue reading

AHCJ suspends membership expirations during virus efforts

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.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has announced a “no-expiration policy” during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Memberships that would normally have expired between February and June will be kept active, said AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese.

“Many of our members are on the front lines of this health crisis and their expertise is being called upon during some extra-long days and nights,” Bruzzese said.

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