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On Wednesday, July 22 Axios co-founder Mike Allen and health care reporter Caitlin Owens hosted the first of a two-part series on how the coronavirus pandemic is changing health care access for those dealing with chronic pain, featuring Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Dr. Tuhina Neogi, Chief of Rheumatology at the Boston University School of Medicine and Randall Rutta, CEO of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

Rep. Kuster discussed legislation on the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and current progress being made in clinical trials.

  • On obstacles to keeping the public safe: "One of the big challenges we faced was the lack of leadership at the federal level from the White House as states were scrambling to find their own testing supplies and the PPE that was needed for frontline workers."
  • On progress made in vaccine trials for the coronavirus: "I'm an optimist, [and] I'm hoping certainly by early next year we will be administering the vaccine for COVID-19 here in America."

Dr. Neogi spoke about how to provide quality elective care during the current pandemic and highlighted how communities of color have been disproportionately affected by chronic pain.

  • On the risks patients with chronic pain have had to weigh during the pandemic: "All in-person visits were really limited to very urgent needs. Chronic pain patients have to decide if they wanted to come into a building where they might be exposed [to the virus] versus trying to manage their pain on their own."
  • On systemic inequities in health care: "So many people from communities of color are first line workers, so they don't have the ability to work remotely from home...Historically, people of color have had their chronic pain less aggressively managed than people of white backgrounds."

Randall Rutta discussed changing the framework for how to manage chronic pain and the challenges people have experienced in trying to receive care.

  • How the pandemic has impacted people with chronic pain: "Getting the care that they need is totally disrupted...They've got to be careful. They can't go out in society the way the rest of us can. With COVID-19, the threat of infection for them is very real."
  • On a new framework for treating chronic pain: "The [new] framework has to say, how can we help support you? What treatments might be available to you? ... Looking for the kinds of medicines that are not addictive and that will not have the kind of side effects we've seen in the past."

This event was a part one of a two-part series. You can watch part two here.

Thank you Pfizer & Lilly for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 22, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: America's housing inequities

Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Aja Whitaker-Moore, and Russell Contreras hosted a conversation on America's housing inequities as part of our series dedicated to covering the impact of race in America. This conversation featured former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford, and National Fair Housing Alliance president Lisa Rice.

Jonathan Reckford unpacked how structural racism has shaped the realities of housing today and the goal of creating accessible communities.

  • On the legacy of segregated housing policies following World War II: "Black families were denied access to growing communities and then denied access to financing, which meant they largely missed out on that wealth-building boom for so many middle-class families that allowed them to create an intergenerational asset through the housing."

Julián Castro highlighted how homeownership disparity is a fundamental part of the wealth gap between white people and people of color in America.

  • Why owning a home is a racial equity issue: "Homeownership is so important because, for most Americans, that makes up the bulk of their wealth. And that's especially true for Black Americans and people of color."
  • On meeting the needs of renters as well as homeowners: "We know that we have a rental affordability crisis that also intimately impacts communities of color around this country. We need to do both of these things to ensure that there's a path to homeownership and then also address the very real challenges of skyrocketing rents."

Lisa Rice discussed the impact of the pandemic on housing equity and critical issues for the next presidential administration to address.

  • On the importance of enforcing housing laws that already exist: "We've never really had wide-scale comprehensive enforcement of our nation's fair housing laws. And unfortunately, over the past three and a half years, what we have seen from the White House and the administration is a consistent rollback and evisceration of fair housing and fair lending protections."
  • On how artificial intelligence could amplify racial discrimination in housing: "[AI] mirrors and reflects the bias that is existence already in our marketplace. And sometimes they actually amplify the bias that is replete throughout the market."

Axios' Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Capital One Head of Community Finance Desiree Francis, unpacking how disparities made worse by COVID-19 build on past economic crises.

  • On the legacy of the 2008 economic crash: "Communities of color haven't recovered from the Great Recession. High levels of foreclosure equated to loss in housing value...These same communities are overrepresented in low-income jobs that have been greatly impacted by COVID-19."

Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this event.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.