May 13, 2020 - Health

High-risk states are seeing fewer new coronavirus cases

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The first stages of reopening haven’t produced a surge in coronavirus cases in most states — at least, not yet.

Yes, but: The reopening process is still in its early stages, so a second wave of infections still remains distinctly possible.

Between the lines: Our chart compares each state's seven-day average of new cases from Monday, and the seven-day average from a week prior, May 4.

  • Comparing the averages of two weeks helps smooth out a lot of the noise in how states sometimes inconsistently conduct and report tests.
  • The latest average captures the first full week in which some states began to ease some of their lockdown measures.

Some of the states that skeptics were most worried about, including Florida and Georgia, haven’t seen the rise in total cases that some experts feared.

  • Florida’s new cases have actually declined by 14% compared to the previous week, and Georgia’s fell by 12%.
  • Nevada leads the pack with a 44% reduction, while several hard-hit states that embraced aggressive lockdowns to help contain early outbreaks — Michigan, New York and New Jersey — all saw reductions of at least 30%.

The other side: Cases are still increasing in other parts of the country. The most worrisome is South Dakota, which saw a startling 123% increase, likely the result of outbreaks in the meat processing industry.

  • Total cases are an imperfect measure, in isolation, of an outbreak’s severity, because that count is limited by the amount of testing in each state, as well as differences in reporting.
  • But they're still an important part of the puzzle. Federal guidelines call for a steady decline in new cases for any reopening process to proceed.

The bottom line: None of this means any state is in the clear — as more businesses open and more people venture back out into the world, the risk of a second wave grows. But it’s an encouraging early sign.

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Anecdotes of labs charging thousands of dollars for coronavirus diagnostic tests are the exception rather than the rule, according to data provided to Axios by a national health insurer.

Yes, but: Some labs that don’t contract with the insurer charged rates that are multiple times higher than what Medicare pays for the diagnostic tests, and in some scenarios, patients may be at risk of receiving surprise bills.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.