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Reproduced from Families USA; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

Roughly 5.4 million adults in the U.S. lost their health insurance from February to May after losing their jobs, according to a new estimate from Families USA, a group that favors the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: There are more adults under 65 without insurance in Southern states which are the same states setting new records for single-day coronavirus infections along with rising hospitalizations.

What they found: 3.9 million adults lost health insurance over one year during the Great Recession, per Families USA's analysis. It only took four months in this current crisis for an estimated 5.4 million Americans to lose health insurance.

  • More than 20% of adults in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas were without insurance as of May.
  • All of these states have set new records in the past two weeks for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, per data from the COVID Tracking Project.
  • 46% of adults who lost coverage caused by the pandemic came from five states, per Families USA: Florida, New York, Texas, California, and North Carolina.

The backdrop: 21 million Americans were unemployed in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' nonfarm payrolls report.

Between the lines: Southern states tend to have at-risk populations and weak health care systems, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

  • Many of the Southern states that are experiencing a significant surge in coronavirus infections "stepped on the gas" while lifting lockdown restrictions, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx told Wharton Business Daily last week.

What's next: Definitive data on how many Americans have lost health coverage will not be available from the federal government until mid-2021 or later that year, the New York Times reports.

Methodology: Families USA estimated the number of uninsured workers in each state for 2020 from BLS data, Urban Institute research and Kaiser Family Foundation data. The consumer group estimated national health insurance levels from 2005-2017 from IPUMS-CPS at the University of Minnesota.

Estimates of total uninsured adults in May 2020 combine (1) estimates from 2018, the most recent year for which pre-COVID-19 data are available for all 50 states, with (2) coverage losses estimated to result from job losses from February through May 2020.

Go deeper: The coronavirus is exposing the holes in employer health insurance

Go deeper

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Oct 21, 2020 - World

Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases

Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.