There is a growing amount of concern in the U.S. about SARS-CoV-2 variants and the possibility they may diminish the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
The story is evolving. On Jan. 25, the Minnesota Department of Health said a variant, first found in Brazil, was found in a patient in Minnesota. On Jan. 28, the CDC announced that a variant, first found in South Africa, was found in South Carolina. Both variants have shown a potential to reduce vaccine effectiveness. [See this piece by AHCJ’s Tara Haelle on understanding the nuances of vaccine efficacy.] Continue reading
President Joe Biden wears a mask in a social media image announcing a mask mandate on federal property, launching his “100 Day Masking Challenge” as part of the country’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
On Jan. 21, President Biden published a 200-page national plan for combating the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the next one.
It is a stark contrast to former President Trump, whose coronavirus task force never created a national plan for responding to the pandemic and instead left it up to states and their health departments to determine strategies for ending the pandemic, resulting in a patchwork of plans that did little to stop the pandemic.
Biden put federal heft behind his national plan, directing agencies to focus on seven goals: Continue reading
Journalists reporting on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine have a new tool to guide their coverage: a Vaccine Education Toolkit that includes survey results on audience attitudes and needs, B-roll and multimedia, webinars, recommended experts and tips on reaching specific audiences. This resource may be a helpful complement to the AHCJ’s extensive resources on reporting about the pandemic.
The bilingual website was developed by three groups: the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). RJI is a part of the Missouri School of Journalism and the NACDS is an industry trade group representing traditional drug stores, supermarkets and mass merchants with pharmacies. Continue reading
Photo: NIAID via FlickrDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received his COVID-19 vaccination.
Journalists covering the COVID-19 vaccine rollout should watch out on Jan. 21 for the Ad Council’s unveiling of an advertising campaign to increase the public confidence getting vaccinated.
The nonprofit group, which led the advertising campaign to garner public support for the polio vaccine in the 1950s, plans to focus especially on communities of color, which polls show are skeptical of the vaccine. Continue reading
The state of Florida last week settled a lawsuit with the Orlando Sentinel, agreeing to provide weekly COVID-19 reports within two days and pay the newspaper’s legal costs.
It was a victory for the newspaper, and for press freedom. Our experience contains lessons – and encouragement – for other newsrooms facing obstruction by state or local officials.
Before filing suit, we persistently sought the documents for weeks, through informal and formal channels. We repeatedly told our readers about our efforts and the state’s decision to withhold information, keeping the issue alive in the public’s eye. Continue reading
We don’t yet know the severity of COVID-19’s long-term effects on the brain, but a group of international researchers is aiming to find out.
The Alzheimer’s Association and scientists in 30 countries are forming an international consortium to track and assess COVID-19 patients. According to a paper announcing the study, scientists will look for any lasting effects on the central nervous system which may lead to late-life cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders. The World Health Organization is providing technical help. Continue reading