The race to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is picking up speed with early promising results from initial studies, and President Trump predicting there will be “hundreds of millions of doses” of vaccine by the end of 2020.
Journalists have reported on these early results, as well as Trump’s comments, which may leave the public with a misunderstanding about the process of vaccine development. Continue reading
Here’s a somewhat worrisome report from the Office of Inspector General. Some two-thirds of the ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) in the nation are supposed to be surveyed for quality and safety issues by their state health agency, according to Medicare rules. But a troubling number of states seem to be ignoring their responsibility.
Since Medicare reimburses ASCs for certain approved procedures — including some that carry higher risks for complications — federal officials have set requirements for how often and how extensively those state agencies are supposed to inspect those facilities. One could argue, and many have, that stricter standards should be put into place, but this report is just about the compliance of the ones that do exist. Continue reading
Satellite view of South Africa.
The threat of emerging infectious diseases is expanding as climate change is altering the range of animals, people and the pathogens that they carry.
Warmer and wetter weather, as well as changing land use and global transportation means that diseases don’t remain behind borders, and populations are being exposed to new diseases like Zika, ebola and new strains of influenza. Continue reading
One angle journalists can take to tackle huge issue like climate change and public health is to take a focused look at how life might be changing for low-income people in a specific city.
This is what NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro did earlier this spring in her report on how climate change is affecting residents’ health in Miami. Continue reading
President Trump, along with immigration opponents, repeatedly assert that immigrants are bringing infectious diseases to the U.S., but never provide any data to back up their claims.
That is because virtually every public health expert says there isn’t any evidence that this is the case. Continue reading
Neil Moralee via Flickr
Socioeconomic factors such as poverty and living conditions play a role in shaping infection risk and disease outcomes.
Many times people in poverty live in crowded conditions, have limited access to quality health care, must work when they are sick, eat less nutritiously, get less sleep, face more stress and are more likely than others to abuse drugs and alcohol. All of these factors hinder immunity and increase susceptibility to infection and death. Continue reading