Tag Archives: COVID-19

Why using the term ‘immunity debt’ is problematic for reporters

Photo by Gustavo Fring via pexels.

As the number of hospitalized children with influenza, RSV, COVID-19 and other infections continues to soar, multiple media outlets have published stories suggesting one of the causes of the severity of illnesses is “immunity debt,” because of social distancing and masking measures taken during the height of the pandemic.

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Tips to help journalists cope with pandemic and other stress 

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As we enter year three of the pandemic, many journalists continue to search for strategies to help them cope with mental health fallout from both experiencing and covering COVID-19.

Several recent surveys show journalists during the pandemic have experienced high rates of symptoms associated with post traumatic distress syndrome (PTSD) like anxiety, depression, flashbacks, negative changes in thinking or mood and increased reactivity to emotionally charged events.

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Resources for covering RSV and the ‘tripledemic’

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via pexels.

Are you looking for a Thanksgiving health story? Consider adding the brewing “tripledemic” of pathogens to your coverage. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are overwhelming hospitals, and some health care experts are urging families to bring back some of the pandemic’s mitigation measures during the holiday.

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How to use COVID-19 rapid tests to avoid misleading results

Photo by Jernej Furman via Flickr.

Rapid antigen tests are now the standard way for people to determine if they have COVID-19, but studies show they are less sensitive than laboratory tests and can result in a false negative for infection, creating public confusion about about how to use rapid tests.

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An uptick in nursing home COVID deaths, cases

Photo by Maryland GovPics via Flickr.

COVID-related nursing home cases and deaths are on the rise again, according to recently published data on AARP’s COVID-19 dashboard. And while these rates are nowhere near the levels of 2020 or early 2021, it’s still a troublesome sign that new COVID variants are making their way into facilities tasked with caring for vulnerable older adults.

Rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths rose in June for the second month in a row — with resident cases increasing by 27% for the four weeks ending June 19. That means about one in every 35 nursing home residents nationally tested positive. Staff positivity rates increased by 42% in the same period — about one in every 28. It’s not clear, however, whether staff were infected in the community or contracted COVID in the nursing home. Death rates are trending up too — increasing by about 54% in June compared with the previous month, according to AARP’s data, which is culled from Information on COVID-19 reported by nursing homes to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).

Journalists can use this data to closely follow trends in their state, or even drill down to an individual facility level.

“We’ve actually had increasing cases for a couple of months now,” said Ari Houser, AARP senior methods advisor and lead data analyst on their nursing home COVID dashboard. “Preliminary CDC data through July 17 shows the trend continuing upward, so we’re not at the peak yet.”

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