As many hospitals have struggled with a deluge of COVID-19 patients, which at times has prompted patients with other severe conditions to avoid hospitals if they feel they can, there’s a fear that non-COVID deaths will increase during the pandemic. A recent paper in BMJ looks at what the data so far suggests while noting we don’t know enough yet to draw conclusions. Continue reading
While there is rightfully much concern about the COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) becoming a pandemic (see Bara Vaida’s excellent tip sheet on covering the virus), let’s not forget we’re in the middle of flu season, another disease that is potentially fatal for older adults. While COVID-19 is deadlier, flu is much more prevalent.
Flu activity is high in the U.S. and expected to continue for weeks, according to CDC’s Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report for the week ending Feb. 15, 2020. You can see a breakout by age groups for Influenza A and B strains here. CDC estimates at least 29 million flu illnesses, 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths from flu so far this season. Continue reading
For the past several years, health care journalists have correctly focused on the rising rate of pregnancy-related mortality in the United States. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over the past 40 years, the nation’s rate of pregnancy-related deaths has more than doubled.
Although the rate dropped slightly in 2016 to 16.9 per 100,000 live births (from a high of 18 in 2014), the rate was 7.2 per 100,000 in 1987 when the CDC began tracking the data. Continue reading
We know social isolation and loneliness are detrimental to health, particularly among the older adult population. It’s a problem that seems to be getting worse, according to this recent report from Pew Research.
It found that, on average, U.S. adults over age 60 spend more than half of their waking hours alone and for those who live by themselves, that’s as much as 10 hours a day, compared with about half that rate for people in their 40s and 50s. Continue reading
In a report late last year, the Commonwealth Fund included two statistics about women’s health that were particularly startling.
In that report, “U.S. Women More Likely to Die in Pregnancy and Childbirth and Skip Care Because of Cost, Multi-Nation Survey Finds; C-Section Rates Rank Among Highest, the authors wrote that first, as many journalists have reported (such as Alison Young for USA Today and Nina Martin for ProPublica and Julia Belluz for Vox), pregnancy and childbirth are more dangerous for women in the United States than they are for women in other high-income nations. Continue reading
Rebecca Dineen, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the Baltimore City Health Department, will be the awards luncheon speaker for Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore on Saturday, May 4.
Dineen joined the Baltimore City Health Department in 2008 and leads the B’more for Healthy Babies campaign, which promotes proper infant sleeping practices to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths in children under age one. The campaign offers parents and other caregivers best practices to promote safe sleep and breastfeeding. It also works to reduce teen pregnancy. Continue reading