The COVID-19 disease pandemic is changing the world as we know it. Every single one of us must treat this disease — and the public health orders being given by government officials — as seriously as life and death.
To combat this virus, we all must embrace a respectful fear of this virus — local actions have global consequences. We can do this together through three simple practices:
- Educating ourselves with trusted, accurate information.
- Translate this trusted info with context for friends and colleagues.
- Learn to identify rumors and misinformation and call them out.
This resource page is an attempt to curate resources that can help all of us better communicate COVID-19 science and news, at work or at home, with focus on Sacramento region contexts wherever possible. The information presented here are NOT a substitute for official news and orders from local, state, federal, and other authorities. We will curate and update this resource as frequently our volunteers are able (bylines in footer).
Scroll down for the following sections:
- Government Info Portals
- Explaining COVID-19 Basics
- SciComm Best Practices
- Spotting Misinformation
- Supporting Media Professionals
- Supporting Kids at Home
This page and its subpages were last updated: April 20, 2020
Government Info Portals
A shelter-in-place order is currently in effect for the entire State of California. (Source: Governor of California, March 19, 2020)
Sacramento County has issued an updated legal order with additional sheltering restrictions. (Source: County of Sacramento, April 7, 2020)
- Official State of California: Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California
- Official California Department of Public Health: COVID-19
- Official Sacramento County: COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)
- Official Yolo County: Novel Coronavirus 2019
- Official Solano County: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Official Placer County: Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
Explaining COVID-19 Basics
When will the initial peak for COVID-19 infections hit California and the Sacramento region specifically?
- Sacramento Bee: “Here’s When Experts Predict New Coronavirus Cases Will Peak in California, Sacramento Region” (Updated April 6, 2020) Includes estimates translated with context for California, and Sacramento County, Placer County, Yolo County, El Dorado County.
How is the swab testing done?
- UC Davis Health: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing: What You Should Know” (Updated March 17, 2020) Includes visual graphics and video (produced in 2009 by the New England Journal of Medicine) demonstrating the use of 6-inch long swabs entering through the nose to sample deep within the nose/mouth cavity.
Why is protecting our hospital capacity a top justification for home isolation measures?
- NPR: “ICU Bed Capacity Varies Widely Nationwide. See How Your Area Stacks Up” (Updated March 25, 2020) Includes a searchable tool for data on number of Intensive Care Unit beds per 100,000 people in a given service area by U.S. county service. Sacramento County ranks 267 out of 304 counties compared.
- AL.com: “Why you should care about coronavirus in Alabama” (Posted March 14, 2020) Well-explained video on why “flattening the curve” can preserve hospital capacity — and why flagrant spread might destroy it. Although context is Alabama numbers, the video can be used as a preface to Sacramento area numbers.
What does COVID-19 do to your body? How complicated is COVID-19 treatment and rehab?
- Science Magazine: “For Survivors of Severe COVID-19, Beating the Virus Is Just the Beginning” by journalist Kelly Servick (April 8, 2020) Includes overview of the disease’s extensive attacks on the human body, and current lack of understanding for rehabilitation.
Why wash your hands with soap? Or why use hand sanitizer?
- Daily Beast: “Is Soap or Hand Sanitizer Best for Stopping Coronavirus?” by journalist Bryn Nelson (March 14, 2020) Includes explanations of how handwashing with soap destroys the lipid exterior coating of viruses, thereby destroying them.
What is the deal with masks?
- Ars Technica: “Face Masks for COVID-19: A Deep Dive into the Data” by journalist Beth Mole (Updated April 3, 2020) A thorough look at existing research on efficacy of mask use on healthy people and on sick people.
New scientific findings seem to come out everyday. Which do I report on?
- WIRED: “The Science of This Pandemic Is Moving at Dangerous Speeds” by journalist Ivan Oransky and academic journal editor Adam Marcus (Posted March 28, 2020) A crash course for journalists on navigating pre-prints, single studies, and other already-existing caveats of reporting on scientific research, now accelerated by COVID-19.
- New York Times: “Coronavirus Tests Science’s Need for Speed Limits” by journalist Wudan Yan (Posted April 14, 2020) A helpful explanation for journalists new to science coverage on the limitations of pre-prints and the role of services like bioRxviv.
What might long-term scenarios look like to fully combat this pandemic?
- The Atlantic: “How the Pandemic Will End” by journalist Ed Yong (March 25, 2020) A detailed explanation of the current pandemic trajectory in the United States, and possible outcomes according to different scenarios of action or inaction.
More resources to be added soon.
SciComm Best Practices
- “Coronaviruses: Background and Sources for Your Reporting” compiled by the Association of Health Care Journalists (Updated regularly)
- #CalmSciComm thread of effective COVID-19 scicomm examples compiled by Ben Young Landis (Updated March 18, 2020)
- California Office of the Surgeon General video about talking to kids with age-appropriate information about COVID-19 and encouraging hygiene (Posted March 25, 2020)
- “Resources for Covering COVID-19” compiled by the National Association of Science Writers (Updated March 16, 2020)
- “Tips on Finding and Vetting Experts During a Disease Outbreak” compiled by the Association of Health Care Journalists (Dated March 11, 2020)
- “Resources for Reporting the Impact of COVID-19 on Older Adults” compiled by the Association of Health Care Journalists (Dated March 13, 2020)
- “Covering COVID-19? These TON Resources May Help“ compiled by The Open Notebook (landing page)
- “Tipsheet: Covering the Coronavirus Epidemic Effectively without Spreading Misinformation” (Spanish Translation) by Washington Post editor Laura Helmuth in The Open Notebook (Dated March 2, 2020)
Reporting with Sensitivity and Enterprise on Race and Diversity and COVID-19
- “Coronavirus Kills California Blacks and Pacific Islanders at Excessive Rate, Numbers Show” by Cathie Anderson in The Sacramento Bee (Dated April 16, 2020) Example of highlighting health disparity aspects of current health crisis.
- “California Releases Data on Race of 37 Percent of Coronavirus Patients, Working to Get More” by Cathie Anderson, Theresa Clift, Tony Bizjak in The Sacramento Bee (Dated April 8, 2020) Example of highlighting health disparity aspects of current health crisis.
- “Why Some People of Color Say They Won’t Wear Homemade Masks” by Fernando Alphonso III (Updated April 7, 2020) Example of highlighting racial and cultural implications of broad public policies.
Local Information Events
- “COVID-19 Crisis Town Hall at UC Davis” (Launched March 30, 2020) Organized by Professor Becca Calisi Rodríguez featuring UC Davis faculty and physicians. Live each Friday afternoon through May 29th.
- “Want to Avoid Spreading Coronavirus Misinformation? Think Like a Science Journalist” by journalist Rebecca Leber in Mother Jones (March 18, 2020) Tips for avoiding repeating misinformation, finding trusted sources, and spotting dubious claims.
- “Fake Animal News Abounds on Social Media as Coronavirus Upends Life” by journalist Natasha Daly (March 20, 2020) Points out that many of the “nature flourishing in human absence” viral photos are not verified, and that sharing seemingly feel-good news may end up further disappointing strained emotions.
- More resources to be added soon
Supporting Media Professionals
Philanthropic and Financial Assitance
- Donate to Sacramento News & Review (March 17, 2020) Tabloid weekly papers rely exclusively on advertising revenue to operate on a week-to-week basis. With retail stores and restaurants shuttered, weeklies are enacting mass layoffs of writers and editors.
- Support Submerge (March 16, 2020) Another local weekly struggling to make ends meet.
- Support Capitol Weekly (April 13, 2020) An important local nonprofit providing free policy coverage.
- “A Freelancer’s Guide to Coronavirus Benefits” webinar recording by the National Writers Union (Posted April 14, 2020) Replay of the NWU April 13 info session.
- “Coronavirus Relief for Writers” compiled by the National Writers Union (Posted April 1, 2020) Includes links to grants and relief funds.
- “Emergency Funds for Freelancers, Creatives Losing Income During Coronavirus” compiled by KQED (Updated April 17, 2020) Includes links for artists and musicians
- “Resources for Covering COVID-19” compiled by the National Association of Science Writers (Updated March 16, 2020) Includes links to business and financial resources.
- Free Email Discussion Board Supporting Reporters Working on COVID-19 Coverage offered by the National Association of Science Writers (Announced March 25, 2020) Journalists of any beat — especially those new to science and health — are invited to join this exchange. NASW membership is not required to participate.
- NASW Information Access Survey (March 19, 2020) Journalists can report their information request experiences to this database, and daylight the extent to which government officials and institutions have facilitated the free flow of information for COVID-19 media coverage.
- Mental Health Resources for Journalists compiled by Dallas Morning News editor Tom Huang (March 14, 2020) A Twitter thread with several links to reputable websites, including USC, Columbia, and Poynter, with resources for journalists managing trauma from reporting on crises.
- “Work from Home Like a Pro” compiled by the NASW Freelance Committee (March 16, 2020) Helpful tips for those new to working from home.
- “Best Practices for Inclusive Remote Meetings” compiled by the American Geophysical Union Ethics and Equity Center (Uploaded April 2020) Helpful tips to manage business meetings for accessibility and empathy.
Supporting Kids at Home
- AGU Online Learning Exchange lets people share ideas for improving online education for K-20+ students (Source: March 19, 2020)
- California State Parks PORTS is offering our new broadcast-style Home Learning Programs for K-12 students from various park locations across California. (Source: April 2, 2020)
- CDFW Nimbus Fish Hatchery is posting virtual video tours of their salmon rearing operations via Facebook.
- City Nature Challenge: Sacramento returns this April 24-27!!! Great citizen science event for all ages.
- The Exploratorium has a Learning Toolbox with videos on virus biology, handwashing, and social behavior.
- Foldit is a long-running online game created by university researchers (including UC Davis) that lets users play with “protein folding” to actually contribute to molecular modeling efforts. Now with coronavirus puzzles. (Source: March 12, 2020)
- Food Literacy Center has food- and nutrition-related curriculum. And recipes!
- iNaturalist is a citizen science platform where anyone can upload observations of nature.
- iNaturalist – Outside Wonder Lab @ Solano is being managed by Dixon elementary school teacher Peggy Harte (Source: March 19, 2020)
- Nature’s Notebook is a federally supported citizen science platform where anyone can upload observations of seasonal change in plants and animals.
- Ranger Rick is offering digital content for free. (Source: March 17, 2020)
- Science News for Students has free content for kids 9-14 (Source: March 16, 2020)
- Skype a Scientist (YouTube) provides video Q&A’s with real scientists suitable for kids.
- STEAM Squad is a new, multiweek, grades 5-7 remote learning curriculum produced by science center around the U.S.
- More resources to be added soon
Bylines: Links on this page and its subpages are suggested by CapSciComm volunteers. Edited by Ben Young Landis.