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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Hospitals are asking retired doctors and nurses to come back and help with operations as they prepare for a rush of severe coronavirus cases.

The bottom line: Retired clinicians likely won't be placed in intensive care units or coronavirus testing stations, because older adults are at higher risk of falling ill and dying from the virus. But they could help stabilize hospitals that will need as many hands on deck as possible over the coming months.

Where it stands: The Association of American Medical Colleges floated this idea last week with hospitals and federal agencies.

  • "The question is: How can we bring people up to speed and bring them in?" said Janis Orlowski, a physician and executive at the AAMC. "They will ... [likely] backfill in areas where it's not direct patient care."

What they're saying: Some retired clinicians are willing to take on other necessary care, while residents and other doctors funnel into coronavirus cases.

  • Mary Kiehl, a physician who retired last September from Washington University in St. Louis, recently messaged her department chair asking if they needed any extra help. She heard back within minutes.
  • "I was shocked at how fast the response was," she said.
  • Kiehl is finishing a self-quarantine after returning from a trip in Patagonia, but she plans to help her hospital with occupational health and supervising residents by the end of this month.

By the numbers: 41% of doctors are 55 or older, according to American Medical Association data provided to Axios, and 38% of nurses are 55 or older.

Go deeper

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks

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People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: The report cites early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection, and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), widely seen as a member of the Republican establishment in Congress, will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.