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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many people who have filed workers' compensation claims following COVID-19 infections are being denied, a Wall Street Journal analysis of state data shows.

Why it matters: Rejected claims from office employees, front-line workers, and airline staff suggest that it's hard to prove where an infection occurred and that returning to the workplace prior to widespread vaccination could present more danger — and less of a safety net — than previously thought.

What they're saying: Chicago attorney Jose Rivero told the Journal that the 30 workers' compensation claims he has made for clients, including 10 cases in which an employee died, have all been denied.

  • Heather Kaplan, a lawyer from New York’s Long Island, said that her roughly 20 claims related to the coronavirus had been denied — including claims from medical workers.
  • Mack Babcock, the attorney for a Colorado meatpacker employee who died after contracting the coronavirus, said that the handful of claims pursued by his firm had all been denied by insurers or companies.

There is currently no comprehensive national data set available on how many coronavirus-related claims have been filed, the WSJ adds. States like Texas, California Florida have released their data.

  • In Texas, insurers denied 45% of more than 32,000 coronavirus-related claims made through Dec. 6, after those workers had tested positive. There is no presumption of eligibility for the virus in the state.
  • In California, 26% of 93,470 coronavirus claims were denied as of the end of December.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Biden: It's "not the time to relax" COVID mitigation efforts — Tracking coronavirus variants through sewage.
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Brazil's capital enters 24-hour lockdown as coronavirus cases surge.
Feb 14, 2021 - Health

Study on Pfizer vaccine shows 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A recent study by Israel’s largest healthcare provider found that after both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, people are 94% less likely to have symptomatic COVID-19 infections and 92% fewer cases of severe illness due to the virus, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Israel has been rapidly vaccinating its population, and the new study underscores how effective the vaccine is, as the data nearly matches Pfizer's Phase three clinical trial that showed the vaccine to be 95% effective.

Updated Feb 15, 2021 - World

New Zealand confirms U.K. coronavirus strain as city locks down

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a news conference in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday. Photo: Lynn Grieveson - Newsroom/Newsroom via Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday it was "absolutely right" for New Zealand's most populous city to lock down, after genome sequencing linked a COVID-19 outbreak in an Auckland family to a more virulent strain.

Why it matters: It's the first time the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K. has been found in NZ. Auckland locked down late Sunday for three days over the three community cases amid concern it might be a more contagious strain.