Beware the preprint in covering coronavirus research

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.

If it wasn’t difficult enough to keep up with the flood of scientific papers about COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the disease, there are also all the preprints to keep up with. A preprint is a full draft of a research study shared online before going through peer review. Most often, it’s published on a dedicated preprint site (typically hosted by journals, research institutions or open access/open science networks) where other researchers can leave comments in a sort of community peer review. Continue reading

Local officials on watch for unauthorized COVID-19 test sites

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Cars lined up Wednesday afternoon at the COVID Clinic testing site near Cardiff-by-the-Sea, before it was shuttered by San Diego County health officials.

Photo: Cheryl ClarkCars lined up Wednesday afternoon at the COVID Clinic testing site before it was shuttered by San Diego County health officials.

Cities, counties and states around the country are probably on heightened alert for unauthorized pop-up COVID-19 testing operations after San Diego County took steps to shut down one such clinic Wednesday, lest a bogus test give someone a false result and jeopardize public health.

For $75, COVID Clinic invited applicants to sign up for COVID-19 IgM and IgG serology antibody, or “finger poke” tests, with partial results in 15 minutes. Continue reading

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

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.

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

Resources and ideas for reporting on older adults’ use of marijuana

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: THC Photos via Flickr

Photo: THC Photos via Flickr

More than two-thirds of states (plus the District of Columbia and several territories) have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

But when it comes to its use by older adults, there are just as many questions as answers. Continue reading

Scrutiny of hospital charges likely to intensify in wake of pandemic

Joseph Burns

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.

hospital-roomAs the nation’s hospitals strain to keep up with the demand to care for COVID-19 patients, it seems almost unfair to ask how much all of this treatment will cost. Still, we know that the costs will be high, both for the care itself and for what health insurers, employers and consumers will end up paying.

In a recent report, the health insurance marketplace Covered California projected that the one-year costs of testing and treatment related to COVID-19 could range from $34 billion to $251 billion. These new costs could cause health insurance premiums for individuals and employers to rise by 40% or more next year in the absence of federal action, the report said, adding that insurance premiums would increase because insurers would want to recoup any losses from the pandemic this year and plan for any future losses they might incur next year. Continue reading

Studies examine dental ailments as a driver of prescription abuse

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Spurred by concerns about opioid addiction and antibiotic overuse, experts have urged clinicians across health care disciplines to take a hard look at their prescribing habits. Dentists, who are numbered among the nation’s leading prescribers of opioids and antibiotics, have been included in these warnings.

Dentists were responsible for writing more than 11 million opioid prescriptions one recent year, yet experts have cautioned that addiction often begins with such routine prescriptions. Continue reading