Caroline Chen

Reporter

Photo of Caroline Chen

Caroline Chen covers health care for ProPublica. She is currently reporting on the coronavirus pandemic.

Her 2019 stories on a heart transplant program in New Jersey that prioritized metrics over patient care won the Livingston Award for local reporting. Her story on racial disparities in cancer clinical trials with Riley Wong in 2018 won the June L. Biedler Cancer Prize for Cancer Journalism in online/multimedia reporting.

Previously, she worked at Bloomberg News, where her coverage included the unraveling of blood test maker Theranos and the 2014 Ebola outbreak. She received her Master’s degree from the Stabile Program in Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, where she was awarded a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship.

How to Understand COVID-19 Numbers

Viewed in isolation or presented without context, coronavirus numbers don’t always give an accurate picture of how the pandemic is being handled. Here, ProPublica journalists Caroline Chen and Ash Ngu offer insight on how to navigate the figures.

“Fast-Tracking” a Coronavirus Vaccine Sounds Great. It’s Not That Simple.

Among the many ways to shorten the vaccine development timeline, approving a treatment based on antibody data — without completing a phase 3 trial — could be contentious. This is why.

How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?

It is likely we’ll eventually have a coronavirus vaccine — but perhaps not as quickly as some expect. From development, to clinical trials and distribution, ProPublica reporter Caroline Chen explains the tremendous challenges that lie ahead.

100,000 Lives Lost to COVID-19. What Did They Teach Us?

Each person who has died of COVID-19 was somebody’s everything. Even as we mourn for those we knew, cry for those we loved and consider those who have died uncounted, the full tragedy of the pandemic hinges on one question: How do we stop the next 100,000?

What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus as Kids Return to Babysitters, Day Cares and Camps

You never planned on raising kids during a pandemic, and there are no easy decisions. ProPublica scoured the latest research and talked to seven infectious disease and public health experts to help think through the issues facing parents.

You Don’t Need Invasive Tech for Successful Contact Tracing. Here’s How It Works.

While most discussions have focused on countries’ use of surveillance technology, contact tracing is actually a fairly manual process. After interviewing contact tracing experts and taking an online course, ProPublica health reporter Caroline Chen presents her takeaways.

Do I Know Enough to Get a Job as a Contact Tracer?

Though requirements vary from state to state, many of them are hiring thousands of contact tracers in an effort to curb coronavirus spread. Here’s a brief quiz to check your knowledge.

What Antibody Studies Can Tell You — and More Importantly, What They Can’t

Coronavirus antibody studies and what they allegedly show have triggered fierce debates, further confusing public understanding. ProPublica’s health reporter Caroline Chen is here to offer some clarity around these crucial surveys.

Coronavirus Advice From Abroad: 7 Lessons America’s Governors Should Not Ignore as They Reopen Their Economies

We spoke to frontline experts from around the globe and have compiled a list of recommendations for reopening U.S. states. Their consensus? It’s tough to find policies that simultaneously save lives and livelihoods.

Ventilators Aren’t Going to Cure COVID-19. Here’s What They Can Do.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, ventilators have been a key focus of the media, politicians and the president. But most of these references miss some key points. This is what ProPublica’s Caroline Chen has learned in her reporting.

Coronavirus Tests Are Being Fast-Tracked by the FDA, but It’s Unclear How Accurate They Are.

“What good is a test if you don’t know it’s giving you reliable results?” one expert said. Concerns are mounting that a lack of accurate testing will make it more difficult for America to relax social distancing.

What ProPublica Is Doing About Diversity in 2020

Here is our annual report on the breakdown of our staff and how we’re working to create a more diverse news organization and inclusive journalism community.

What We Need to Understand About Asymptomatic Carriers if We’re Going to Beat Coronavirus

ProPublica’s health reporter Caroline Chen explains what the conversation around asymptomatic coronavirus carriers is missing, and what we need to understand if we’re going to beat this nefarious virus together.

Internal Emails Show How Chaos at the CDC Slowed the Early Response to Coronavirus

The CDC fumbled its communication with public health officials and underestimated the threat of the coronavirus even as it gained a foothold in the United States, according to hundreds of pages of documents ProPublica obtained.

Here’s Why Florida Got All the Emergency Medical Supplies It Requested While Other States Did Not

The Department of Health and Human Services has come under fire as several states’ requests for supplies from the emergency medical stockpile go unfulfilled. A chaotic distribution plan is buckling under a big problem: Nobody has enough.

How Many Americans Are Really Infected With the Coronavirus?

Health care reporter Caroline Chen dug into the projections to learn what to make of them. Forecasts are fuzzy, but the takeaway is clear: Stay home.

The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases

The FDA’s strict guidance on test confirmations is one of several obstacles that has slowed the federal government’s response to COVID-19. The FDA could change its rules to speed things up, but hasn’t.

Should I Quarantine Because of Coronavirus? It Depends on Who You Ask.

Agencies, local authorities and national governments do not agree on who should be quarantined or what that should actually look like. Here’s what we do know.

Are You in Coronavirus Quarantine? Tell Us What Authorities Told You So We Can Make Sure It’s Right.

We’re collecting instructions state and local health departments have given about coronavirus quarantines. Help us hear from every state and city.

I Lived Through SARS and Reported on Ebola. These Are the Questions We Should Be Asking About Coronavirus.

For concerned civilians and journalists covering the coronavirus, the figures and projections can be overwhelming, frightening or confusing. Here’s what reporter Caroline Chen is focusing on to keep things as accurate and clear as possible.

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