On Tuesday, July 14 Axios hosted a conversation on the future of telemedicine with Axios co-founder Mike Allen and health care reporter Caitlin Owens featuring Oscar Health CEO Mario Schlosser and Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai.

Ajit Pai focused on the FCC's telehealth initiatives, highlighting $200 million in funding from the CARES Act to help health care providers shift online.

  • How the money is being allocated: "[The FCC] has distributed funding to 539 applicants, allocated all $200 million of that money to 47 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. And this money is being distributed to a whole variety of institutions: brick-and-mortar community health centers, mental health and behavioral health facilities."

Mario Schlosser discussed how telehealth has been utilized during the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it's had the health care industry.

  • The impact coronavirus has had on in-person appointments: "If we compare pre-pandemic to now, you look at the hundreds of [health care] appointments that should have occurred. Twenty percent shifted to virtual, 30% remained in person, and 50% simply disappears."
  • On the future of telehealth: "The shift towards digital [in health] is a big opportunity of getting costs out of the US healthcare system, not to create more costs."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Ro co-founder and CEO Zachariah Reitano, who discussed how the current crisis exposes the gaps in American health care.

  • On the impact of coronavirus on the health care industry: "It shined a light on all of the problems that have existed in the health care system for quite some time. And I think, frankly, we're embarrassed by it. But it's good, because hopefully it will serve as a catalyst. We see the racial inequities. We see the geographic inequities."

Thank you Ro for sponsoring this event.

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Updated Aug 5, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: Small business recovery during the pandemic

On Wednesday August 5, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and "Axios Today" host Niala Boodhoo hosted the last of a six-event series on how small businesses have pivoted during the coronavirus outbreak, featuring Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), owner of The Curvy Bride Michelle Files and Satori Yoga studio owner Andrea Stern.

Sen. Lankford discussed the federal government's response to the pandemic, financial support for small businesses, and the importance of NGOs as economic safety nets within communities.

  • On the effectiveness of PPP loans: "The Paycheck Protection Program has had some problems, but overwhelmingly it's been very, very successful. Paycheck Protection Program was designed to keep small businesses and not-for-profits running so their people didn't have to end up on unemployment assistance...and it has done that."
  • How the coronavirus has changed the economies of small towns: A lot of small towns in Oklahoma have had their highest tax revenue they've ever had in the history of their towns this year...They're used to those folks in small towns driving to big cities to shop. But they're not. They're staying at home. They're shopping online."

Michelle Files and Andrea Stern highlighted the unique challenges of running a small business during the pandemic and how their respective businesses have pivoted to digital tools in these changing times.

  • Michelle Files on adapting her brick-and-mortar business to a virtual world: "Mobile appointments...really took off. People loved that they were still able to shop from the comfort of their own home. I would just bring the dresses to them and safely be on a Zoom call from my car with any questions that they would have."
  • Andrea Stern on transitioning to live, online yoga classes: "We decided that livestream was the best way to go...one of the nice parts about livestream is that [instructors] actually have people in front of them. You can get feedback from the students. It was just a matter of getting everyone up to speed on the technology."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Karen Kerrigan, who discussed trends in how small businesses have adjusted to the new economy.

  • "[Small businesses] are massively moving to technology platforms. 51% said that they've upped their use of social media in order to engage with customers and find new customers. So they really embrace technology at this very critical time, which is helping them to survive the COVID-19 economy."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 45 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.