Action on childhood obesity amidst COVID-19: greater challenges, new opportunities

Unhealthy diets are a leading risk factor for illness and death globally. Since 2012, Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported efforts around the world to promote healthier eating. The COVID-19 pandemic has both exposed the fault lines in our food system and reinforced the relationship between nutritious diets and health, bringing a new urgency to the need to ensure that everyone can access foods that nourish. On this World Children’s Day, we are pleased to host a guest blog from two organizations that are working to do just that: UNICEF and World Obesity Federation. As they describe below, there are important opportunities to get this right and doing so will require listening to and engaging young people.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Right to Nutritious Food

A South African doctor and sexual and reproductive health rights activist, Dr. T was appointed the new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health in July. In her role, she studies national practices and experiences with physical and mental health in UN partner countries around the world and makes recommendations on how to ensure the protection of the right to health.

Follow the Data Podcast: The State of the Virus with Dr. Fauci

In this episode, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dean Ellen MacKenzie joins Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for the first installment of the Johns Hopkins University’s Health Policy forum. The webcast originally aired on October 16. The audio is adapted from Public Health on Call, a daily podcast from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Politics of Food

On World Food Day, this Follow the Data episode discusses why food is political; the connection between hunger, obesity, and climate change; and how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need – and opportunities – to create a healthier and more socially just food system.

Follow the Data Podcast: How Buenos Aires, Argentina is Responding to COVID-19

On this episode, Fernando Straface, the Secretary General and Secretary of Foreign Relations of the City of Buenos Aires, joins Dr. Kelly Henning – head of Bloomberg Philanthropies public health team. Together, they discuss how Buenos Aires is collaborating with other Latin American cities to coordinate coronavirus response, how the city government is utilizing data from its COVID-19 dashboard, and what’s keeping local leaders hopeful now.

Follow the Data Podcast: Is It Safe to Reopen Schools?

On this episode, we talk to Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, where she leads research partnerships with public health practitioners in order to document their learnings and improve our readiness for large and challenging outbreaks. She also co-wrote a New York Times op-ed earlier this summer, called “We Have to Focus on Opening Schools, Not Bars.”

Podcast: Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Answered

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live – and a vaccine is our best hope to resume normal life.

While studies of possible COVID-19 vaccines continue, questions emerge: How close are we to a vaccine? Should children, pregnant women, and the elderly be included in vaccine trials? How successful does a vaccine have to be in order to be considered effective?

Follow the Data Podcast: Systemic Racism as a Public Health Issue

As the Director of The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity and the Director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, Dr. Lisa Cooper and her team work to make health care institutions more equitable, communities more engaged, and health policies and practices more effective to eliminate disparities in health and health care in Baltimore, the United States, and around the world.

Follow the Data Podcast: Training an Army of Contact Tracers

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Bloomberg Philanthropies, together with New York State, launched a free online course in order to train an army of contact tracers to reach and assist people who have been exposed to the virus.

The course, called “COVID-19 Contact Tracing,” was spearheaded by Dr. Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and teaches the fundamentals of interviewing people diagnosed with COVID-19, finding their close contacts who may have been exposed, and providing them with advice and support for self-quarantine.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Data Behind The Pandemic

As the Director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Tom Inglesby and his team use research, data, and expert analysis to advise decision makers about public health practices to mitigate the effects of epidemics and disasters.

In this episode, Dr. Inglesby sat down with Bloomberg Philanthropies public health program lead Dr. Kelly Henning to tell us more about how states are looking at data to inform school and office reopenings, whether we’re in the first or second wave of COVID-19, and the power of social media during the pandemic.

Making the most of the Management Metrics for Cities resource

In the past three months, city leaders across the country have grown comfortable reciting local data on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ventilator usage, and more. As the pandemic evolves, however, so do the metrics they need to master.

That’s why Bloomberg Philanthropies released a guide to COVID-19 Management Metrics for Cities. It’s meant to help mayors and their lieutenants track the right data points to keep tabs on how the pandemic is impacting their city over time and make informed decisions as the crisis continues.

Follow the Data Podcast: Food First Responders

As the coronavirus continues to impact communities around the globe, health care workers are risking their lives every day to protect others.

To express our appreciation for them, Bloomberg Philanthropies teamed up with Chef José Andrés and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, to provide almost 1.1 million meals to health care workers working on the frontlines at 16 NYC Health + Hospitals facilities.

Training Nearly 6,000 Health Care Workers Fighting COVID-19 in Africa

In just three months, with our support 31 countries in Africa have been able to deepen and expand their efforts to minimize the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. This work not only helps today in responding to COVID-19, but also prepares health systems to respond in the case of future epidemics.

A New Contact Tracing Playbook to Help Local Leaders Contain the Spread of COVID-19

Across the United States and the world, cities, states, and localities are at different stages of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing programs such as contact tracing that reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. Contact tracing not only helps local leaders keep their constituencies healthy and safe, it is also a critical step before reopening businesses and public spaces.

Follow the Data Podcast: How Helsinki, Finland is Responding to COVID-19

Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki, Finland joins Kelly Larson to discuss how Helsinki is responding to COVID-19, how The Partnership for Healthy Cities is encouraging global collaboration between cities, and what’s keeping mayors hopeful right now.

Follow the Data Podcast: Lights, Camera… Action?

With the entertainment industry grinding to a halt as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the entertainment community has adapted to continue creating during this time. Hear a conversation around how productions are transitioning to Zoom, how we can keep casts and crews safe, and how The Actors Fund is helping people in performing arts and entertainment in need.

7 takeaways from the first phase of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative

For mayors and other local leaders, the COVID-19 outbreak and all the economic and social problems intertwined with it have made this the most challenging time in generations.

To bolster their leadership skills and sharpen their understanding of the health crisis, hundreds of them have taken a short break from the tumult every Thursday for the past 11 weeks to participate in coaching and learning sessions through the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative.

Follow the Data Podcast: How Freetown, Sierra Leone is Responding to COVID-19

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, Sierra Leone spoke with Dr. Kelly Henning, who leads the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, to discuss how Freetown is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, how global mayors are sharing information during the coronavirus crisis, and what’s keeping mayors hopeful right now.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Cost of Recovery for Our Cities, Part 2

This week’s episode dives into how apart from securing and deploying aid, it’s particularly important for cities to maintain fiscal order so that they can maximize the funds and avoid any misuse and trouble down the road.

5 Questions on COVID-19 with Dr. Kelly Henning

The lead of our Public Health program, epidemiologist Dr. Kelly Henning, answers five frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 response on topics including testing and the timeline for reopening communities.

Follow the Data Podcast: A Promising Treatment for COVID-19

In this episode of our series around Bloomberg Philanthropies’ COVID-19 response, Dr. Casadevall joined Dr. Jessica Leighton, from our public health team, to discuss how blood plasma has been used to treat infectious disease outbreaks in the past, what makes blood plasma treatment different from a vaccine, how donating your blood plasma could help your community, and what’s giving researchers hope right now. 

What It Takes to Serve 500,000 Meals to Front Line Workers in NYC’s Public Hospitals – A Look into the Bloomberg Philanthropies and World Central Kitchen Partnership

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has engulfed New York City, on April 15, Bloomberg Philanthropies and World Central Kitchen, the international nonprofit founded by Chef José Andrés, came together to ensure frontline workers at 16 of the NYC Health + Hospital facilities hardest hit by the crisis would have fresh, healthy meals seven days a week. Less than one month since the initiative launched, 500,000 meals, made possible by a $6 million contribution from Mike Bloomberg, have been served.

That’s 30,000 meals a day, including kosher, halal and vegetarian options, served to New York City’s public hospital doctors, nurses, janitors, facilities staffers, police officers, visiting medical staff and military personnel. To serve meals at this scale, and to assist New York’s ailing restaurant industry and its workers, World Central Kitchen connected with local restaurants.

Follow the Data Podcast: Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 in Africa

Bloomberg Philanthropies is partnering with global health organization Vital Strategies on global response efforts, along with the World Health Organization, to support immediate action to prevent or slow the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable low and middle-income countries, particularly those in Africa. In this episode of our series around Bloomberg Philanthropies’ COVID-19 response, Amanda McClelland, the Senior Vice President of Prevent Epidemics and Resolve to Save Lives at Vital Strategies, sat down with Dr. Jennifer Ellis, who works on our Public Health program.

Survey: U.S. mayors concerned about cities’ COVID-19 testing capacity

As leaders on every level of government eye reopening their economies — and explore the best ways to get there — America’s mayors are expressing concern over a lack of COVID-19 testing capacity and the availability of resources needed to care for their most vulnerable residents.

This is according to a new poll of mayors conducted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The survey, fielded May 1–4, found that two-thirds (66 percent) of mayors who responded say they are able to prioritize rapid testing for residents with COVID-19 symptoms, including those from high-risk populations.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Cost of Recovery for Our Cities, Part 1

Navigating federal aid is a challenge, even under the best of circumstances – but cities need to get access to the funds they need to operate and recover, and use it effectively.

That’s why our teams at Bloomberg Associates are working with the US Conference of Mayors to help cities better understand how to access and track the Federal programs and funding to support COVID-19 response and recovery. This program is just one of the initiatives Bloomberg Philanthropies is taking on to help mayors confront COVID-19.

Public or Private: City Fiscal Management in Crisis Response

By Bloomberg Associates’ Rose Gill and Megan Sheekey

In their efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, local leaders are managing monumental challenges including understanding available federal benefits and programs, navigating complex legal and regulatory issues, and managing resources—both public and private—to support their communities. While government has broad access to people and service delivery channels, in this unprecedented circumstance it also needs strong partners to effectively meet the immediate and complex public issues the COVID-19 crisis has brought to bear.

Mayors offer leadership and clarity when it comes to COVID-19 and social distancing

By James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation program lead

When President Trump hit “send” on a trio of tweets that encouraged Americans to “LIBERATE” themselves from strict social-distancing measures, he did more than spark what could become a firestorm. He also put the country’s mayors—hundreds of whom have taken decisive action to institute those orders in order to protect their residents—in a wholly unfamiliar situation: Caught between the best advice of public-health experts and the biggest bully pulpit in the world.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Intersection of COVID-19 and Transportation

In this episode of our series highlighting Bloomberg Philanthropies’ COVID-19 response, Janette Sadik-Khan, a Principal at Bloomberg Associates and Chair of NACTO, sat down with Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO, and Mark de la Vergne, the Chief of Mobility Innovation for the City of Detroit.

They discuss how cities are continuing to run transit systems while keeping their own staffs safe, creative actions city transportation officials are taking in response to the pandemic, and how cities can provide safer, healthier transportation options for people going forward.

Tonight: Tune in to “One World: Together at Home”

As we all shelter-in-place and take precautions to combat the spread of COVID-19, many of us have wanted to do even more to help including by supporting health workers who are bravely on the frontlines in our hospitals, homes, and living facilities. Whether clapping at a shift change or donating vital gear like ventilators, masks and gowns, Americans and American businesses have come together – from home and online – to support our health workers.

Follow the Data Podcast: Behind the Scenes of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracking Map

This episode of our series on coronavirus response efforts borrows an episode from “Public Health on Call” – a new podcast brought to you by Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a frequent guest of Follow the Data.