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1.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 71(13): 484-488, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1771889

ABSTRACT

In 2021, during the COVID-19 response, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) conducted its seventh periodic Epidemiology Capacity Assessment (ECA), a national assessment that evaluates trends in applied epidemiology workforce size, funding, and epidemiology capacity at state health departments.* A standardized web-based questionnaire was sent to state epidemiologists in 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC). The questionnaire assessed the number of current and optimal epidemiologist positions; sources of epidemiology activity and personnel funding; and each health department's self-perceived capacity to lead activities, provide subject matter expertise, and obtain and manage resources for the three essential public health services (EPHS) most closely linked to epidemiology.† CSTE enumerated 4,136 epidemiology positions across the United States, with an additional 2,196 positions needed to provide basic public health services. From 2017 to 2021, the number of epidemiologists in state health departments increased 23%, an increase primarily accounted for by the number of those supporting the COVID-19 response§. The number of staff members decreased in program areas of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and maternal and child health (MCH). Federal funding supports most epidemiology activities (85%) and epidemiology personnel (83%). Overall capacity to deliver the EPHS has declined, and epidemiology workforce and capacity needs remain unmet. More epidemiologists and sustainable funding are needed to consistently and effectively deliver EPHS. Additional resources (e.g., funding for competitive compensation and pathways for career advancement) are essential for recruitment and retention of epidemiologists to support public health activities across all program areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Public Health Administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , District of Columbia , Humans , State Government , United States/epidemiology , Workforce
3.
Am J Public Health ; 112(3): 397-400, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1701451

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, media accounts emerged describing faith-based organizations (FBOs) working alongside health departments to support the COVID-19 response. In May 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) sent an electronic survey to the 59 ASTHO member jurisdictions and four major US cities to assess state and territorial engagement with FBOs. Findings suggest that public health officials in many jurisdictions were able to work effectively with FBOs during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide essential education and mitigation tools to diverse communities. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(3):397-400. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306620).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/ethnology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Faith-Based Organizations/organization & administration , Health Promotion/organization & administration , Community-Institutional Relations , Faith-Based Organizations/economics , Health Equity , Health Promotion/economics , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health Administration , SARS-CoV-2 , State Government , United States/epidemiology , /ethnology
7.
South Med J ; 114(10): 649-656, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608690

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Although disparities in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) prevalence are known, knowledge of the recent surge of COVID-19 in Texas and factors affecting fatality rates is limited. Understanding the health disparities associated with COVID-19 can help healthcare professionals determine the populations that are most in need of COVID-19 preventive care and treatment. The aim of this study was to assess COVID-19-related case and mortality rates. METHODS: Our cross-sectional analysis used Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 case surveillance counts. Case, hospitalization, and mortality counts were obtained from March to July 2020. RESULTS: From March to July 2020, there were 420,397 COVID-19-related cases and 6954 deaths in Texas. There were 3277 new cases and 104 deaths in March, and 261,876 new cases and 3660 deaths in July. The number of new COVID-19 cases was the highest from March to April (relative risk 1.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.76-1.78). Although the death rate in June was a 30% increase over the rate in May, death rates nearly tripled by the end of July, for a total of 3660 deaths. Of the 3958 deaths, demographic data were available for 753 deaths. Of these, 440 were male, 16 Asian, 95 Black, 221 Hispanic, 325 White, and 96 were "Other" or "Unknown." Males were associated with a slightly higher chance of acquiring COVID-19 than females (odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% CI 1.09-1.14) and nearly a 29% higher chance of dying of COVID-19 compared with females (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.11-1.49). Bivariate analysis revealed that the probability of acquiring COVID-19 was 12% higher in older adults compared with individuals younger than 65 years old (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.08-1.16), and older adults had an 18.8 times higher risk of death when compared with the rate of younger individuals (OR 18.79, 95% CI 15.93-22.15). Hispanics and Blacks were 70% and 48%, respectively, more likely to contract COVID-19 than Whites. All races had lower significant chance of death when compared with Whites. At the end of July, there was a total of 430,485 Texas COVID-19 cases and 6387 fatalities (8.8% of all cases and 4% of all deaths in the United States.). Case fatality ratios were the highest in older adults. As we continued to observe data, in contrast to previous study time points, we found that Asians and Hispanics had no significant difference in COVID mortality rates and were comparable in terms of mortality odds and death case ratios when compared with Whites. CONCLUSIONS: This time period represents the highest COVID-19 surge time in Texas. Although our data consist of a short time period of population-level data in an ongoing pandemic and are limited by information reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services, older age, male sex, Hispanics, and Blacks are currently associated with higher infection rates, whereas older age, male sex, and Whites are associated with higher mortality rates. Clinicians and decision makers should be aware of the COVID-19 health disparities and risk factors for mortality to better promote targeted interventions and allocate resources accordingly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/economics , Health Status Disparities , /statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/ethnology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Odds Ratio , Prevalence , Risk Factors , State Government , Texas/epidemiology
10.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(12): e2139585, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1589284

ABSTRACT

Importance: Although evictions have been associated with adverse mental health outcomes, it remains unclear which stages of the eviction process are associated with mental distress among renters. Variation in COVID-19 pandemic eviction protections across US states enables identification of intervention targets within the eviction process to improve renters' mental health. Objective: To measure the association between the strength of eviction protections (ie, stages blocked by eviction moratoriums) and mental distress among renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used individual-level, nationally representative data from the Understanding Coronavirus in America Survey to measure associations between state eviction moratorium protections and mental distress. The sample of 2317 respondents included renters with annual household incomes less than $75 000 who reported a state of residence and completed surveys between March 10 and September 3, 2020, prior to the federal eviction moratorium order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposures: Time-varying strength of state moratorium protections as a categorical variable: none, weak (blocking court hearings, judgments, or enforcement without blocking notice or filing), or strong (blocking all stages of the eviction process beginning with notice and filing). Main Outcomes and Measures: Moderate to severe mental distress was measured using the 4-item Patient Health Questionnaire. Linear regression models were adjusted for time-varying state COVID-19 incidence and mortality, public health restrictions, and unemployment rates. Models included individual and time fixed effects as well as clustered standard errors. Results: The sample consisted of 2317 individuals (20 853 total observations) composed largely (1788 [78%] weighted) of middle-aged adults (25-64 years of age) and women (1538 [60%]); 640 respondents (23%) self-reported as Hispanic or Latinx, 314 respondents (20%) as non-Hispanic Black, and 1071 respondents (48%) as non-Hispanic White race and ethnicity. Relative to no state-level eviction moratorium protections, strong protections were associated with a 12.6% relative reduction (risk ratio, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.76-0.99) in the probability of mental distress, whereas weak protections were not associated with a statistically significant reduction (risk ratio, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.86-1.06). Conclusions and Relevance: This analysis of the Understanding Coronavirus in America Survey data found that strong eviction moratoriums were associated with protection against mental distress, suggesting that distress begins early in the eviction process with notice and filing. This finding is consistent with the idea that to reduce mental distress among renters, policy makers should focus on primary prevention of evictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Psychological Distress , Public Policy , State Government , Adult , Female , Humans , Income , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Unemployment , United States
11.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(12): e2138238, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1562433

ABSTRACT

Importance: There is limited evidence on whether COVID-19 vaccine incentive lotteries help to increase vaccine uptake. Objective: To estimate whether and to what extent statewide implementation of lottery programs is associated with COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used data from 403 714 adults who answered the question, "have you received a COVID-19 vaccine?" on the Household Pulse Survey (HPS) and state-level daily vaccination rates for 11 states implementing a vaccine lottery program (ie, treated states) and 28 states with no such program (ie, control states). A difference-in-difference (DiD) analysis used responses to the HPS question and compared changes in vaccine uptake between treated and control states. The augmented synthetic control (ASC) analysis compared state-level daily new vaccination rates in treated states with their synthetic versions constructed from a donor pool of control states. Data were analyzed from March 17 to July 5, 2021. Exposures: Announcement of the vaccine lottery programs and states implementing such programs. Main Outcomes and Measures: The outcome variable in the DiD analysis was the binary indicator of self-reported vaccination status. In the ASC analysis, it was the state-level daily new first vaccine dose administered per 100 000 people (logarithm scale). Results: A total of 403 714 individuals (mean [SD] age, 52.7 [15.7] years; 239 563 [weighted percentage, 51.6%] women; 31 746 [weighted percentage, 11.9%] Black; 39 709 [weighted percentage, 18.2%] Hispanic; 334 034 [weighted percentage, 76.4%] White) responded to the question in HPS regarding vaccination status. Overall, 80 949 respondents (weighted percentage, 28.1%) in the HPS were unvaccinated. A pooled analysis from both methods indicated that the lottery programs were associated with increased vaccinations. The ASC analysis revealed that lottery programs were associated with an increase of 0.208 log points (95% CI, 0.004-0.412 log points), implying an average 23.12% increment in the new daily vaccination rate. In state-specific analyses, both methods suggested that the vaccine lottery programs were helpful in Ohio (0.09 log points; P < .001), Maryland (0.26 log points; P < .001), Oregon (0.15 log points; P = .002), and Washington (0.37 log points; P < .001) but not in Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia. The ASC analysis found that lottery programs were positively associated with vaccinations in New Mexico (0.32 log points; P < .001) and New York (0.33 log points; P = .001). Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this study suggest that lottery programs may be associated with decreased COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, but that success might differ across states. The findings could also be useful in the ongoing debate on persuading US residents who are not yet vaccinated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Immunization Programs , Motivation , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Vaccination , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Government Programs , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Program Evaluation , SARS-CoV-2 , State Government , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States
12.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev ; 22(S2): 51-57, 2021 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559636

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Sale of single cigarettes (also known as singles or loosies) is a key driver for early initiation of smoking and is a leading contributor to the smoking epidemic in India. Sale of singles additionally deter implementation of tobacco control strategies of pictorial health warnings including plain packaging and defeat effective taxation and promote illicit trade. We review India's tobacco control policy responses towards banning singles and other products sold as loose tobacco and identify opportunities for future policy intervention especially in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Existing national and sub-national policy documents were analyzed for their content since the inception of the tobacco control laws in the country. RESULTS: There are no effective provisions at national level to ban loose tobacco products in India. However, the implementation of multiple legislative and regulatory measures (Acts/circulars/letters/notifications/orders/court judgements) in 16 Indian states and jurisdictions provide sufficient legal framework to substantiate its complete ban pan India. While the majority of state governments have adopted state level measures, Rajasthan had issued specific directive to all the 33 districts banning loose cigarettes and other tobacco products. Himachal Pradesh introduced the most unique and comprehensive legislation, for banning the sale of cigarettes and beedis (Dated November 7, 2016). The most recent notification in the state of Maharashtra (September 24, 2020) is the first to leverage powers using a mix of national and state legislations including the legislation addressing the rapidly emerging challenge of managing COVID-19. CONCLUSION: A robust national policy which supports strong provision to deter tobacco companies, their distribution network and vendors from selling singles or loose tobacco products is urgently needed. Such policy should be backed by cautionary messaging for consumers as well. Eliminating singles and loose tobacco sale will help in blunting tobacco use prevalence besides curbing spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Public Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Smoking Prevention/legislation & jurisprudence , Smoking/economics , Smoking/epidemiology , Tobacco Industry/economics , Tobacco Products/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , India/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , State Government , Taxes/legislation & jurisprudence , Tobacco Industry/legislation & jurisprudence
16.
Am J Nurs ; 121(11): 14, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493970

ABSTRACT

Some states seek to limit health officials' powers to act in disease outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Infection Control/standards , Politics , Public Health Nursing , Public Health/legislation & jurisprudence , State Government , COVID-19 , Federal Government , Humans , United States
18.
J Med Libr Assoc ; 109(3): 422-431, 2021 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463960

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the public's need for quality health information that is understandable. This study aimed to identify (1) the extent to which COVID-19 messaging by state public health departments is understandable, actionable, and clear; (2) whether materials produced by public health departments are easily readable; (3) relationships between material type and understandability, actionability, clarity, and reading grade level; and (4) potential strategies to improve public health messaging around COVID-19. METHODS: Based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics from June 30, 2020, we identified the ten states with the most COVID-19 cases and selected forty-two materials (i.e., webpages, infographics, and videos) related to COVID-19 prevention according to predefined eligibility criteria. We applied three validated health literacy tools (i.e., Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool, CDC Clear Communication Index, and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level) to assess material understandability, actionability, clarity, and readability. We also analyzed correlations between scores on the three health literacy tools and material types. RESULTS: Overall, COVID-19 materials had high understandability and actionability but could be improved in terms of clarity and readability. Material type was significantly correlated with understandability, actionability, and clarity. Infographics and videos received higher scores on all tools. CONCLUSIONS: Based on our findings, we recommend public health entities apply a combination of these tools when developing health information materials to improve their understandability, actionability, and clarity. We also recommend using infographics and videos when possible, taking a human-centered approach to information design, and providing multiple modes and platforms for information delivery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Education/methods , Health Literacy , Health Promotion/methods , Information Dissemination/methods , Public Health/education , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , State Government , United States
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