Older health care professionals at risk during COVID-19 outbreak

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Medical Reserve CorpsA member of the Medical Reserve Corps of
Puerto Rico conducts a medical assessment in response to an earthquake.

Retired physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have been asked to volunteer for duty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, many of these retirees fall into the high-risk group for contracting COVID-19. They face a difficult choice: stay away and stay safer, or put aside the potential risk to help care for an increasingly sick population. Continue reading

Congress, regulators offer financial relief for Americans seeking tests, treatment for new coronavirus

Joseph Burns and Bara Vaida

About Joseph Burns and Bara Vaida

Joseph Burns, a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. Bara Vaida is AHCJ's topic leader on infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis is the CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The just-passed multibillion-dollar Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes free diagnostic testing for the new COVID-19 illness — for those fortunate enough to get a test if needed. The law also includes paid sick leave, nutrition assistance and boosts unemployment benefits for Americans out of work due to the pandemic, as Barbara Sprunt reported for NPR.

President Trump signed the bill into law after the U.S. Senate passed it on Wednesday. The House of Representatives had approved it the previous week. Continue reading

AHCJ suspends membership expirations during virus efforts

Pia Christensen

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.

Continue reading

Despite pronouncements, no quick turnaround likely for COVID-19 treatments, vaccines

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.

whitehouse.gov

An inaccurate statement that President Trump made during a March 19 news briefing — that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine had been approved as a COVID-19 treatment — demonstrates how skeptical journalists should remain when covering the unfolding story about treatments and preventative measures.

While there are more than 85 trials for vaccines and treatments underway for COVID-19, scientists don’t expect them to be available to the public soon, despite what some headlines suggest. Continue reading

Finding the latest COVID-19 studies — and covering them thoughtfully

Tara Haelle

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.

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, most data came from news reports, clinical summaries and preprints. Now more and more peer-reviewed studies are coming out each day, and it’s challenging to keep up with them. Several journals have set up dedicated coronavirus sites that can help in keeping up with the research.

The Lancet’s COVID-19 Resource Centre, JAMA Network’s COVID-19 resource center and NEJM’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) page all include the newest studies, commentary and related data and information on the pandemic. Continue reading

Study: Older adults with obstructive sleep apnea have higher health costs

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Rachel Tayse via Flickr

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common and costly medical condition leading to a wide range of health risks such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and even premature death.  Medical costs are substantially higher among older adults who go untreated for the disorder, according to a recent study.

Health costs among older adults for untreated OSA – which occurs when the upper airway closes off during sleep, temporarily interrupting breathing—will continue to rise without more early detection and treatment, researchers cautioned. Continue reading