This is now an FDA-approved therapeutic. Photo courtesy of Akili

The FDA this week approved a video game as a prescribable therapeutic for kids with ADHD.

Why it matters: The move marks the first time a video game can be legally marketed as a therapy for a health condition, and it shows the gradual progress of the wider field of digital therapeutics.

What's happening: The game, called EndeavorRx and developed by Akili Interactive Labs, rewards players with stars for navigating a fantasy landscape and finishing tasks.

  • The game is meant to act as a delivery system for algorithms that can strengthen neural networks in the brain connected to ADHD, according to reporting by STAT.
  • While Akili has made the game available for the past few months for free to eligible children, the FDA's decision means that physicians can now prescribe it, and insurers may cover it.

Context: The market for digital therapeutics — which range from games like EndeavorRx to apps focusing on addiction — has been growing in recent years. The pandemic gave the industry a push, as the lockdown led the FDA to relax regulations on a range of mental health and telemedicine apps.

  • "We are seeing a 20% to 30% growth of people seeking help on anxiety and depression during the pandemic," says Adnan Asar, CEO of Lucid Lane, a digital health platform.

My thought bubble: I'm looking forward to the day when I can get Axios' health insurer to cover NBA 2K20.

Go deeper... New norm: Musicians performing on video game platforms

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Jun 19, 2020 - Technology

The Last of Us Part II debuts as the game for an uneasy summer

Screenshot: Sony Interactive Entertainment

"The Last of Us Part II" is debuting Friday to rapturous reviews and towering expectations as the sequel to a landmark 2013 Playstation game. Its tale of a society shattered by an infection also turns out to be full of unplanned resonances in a season of pandemic and civil unrest in the U.S.

The big picture: Nintendo's "Animal Crossing," the video game hit of the spring, offered escapism as people hunkered down for an extended stay at home. "The Last of Us Part II," with a post-apocalyptic storyline full of moral quandaries, could become the game of the current moment.

29 mins ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.