A doctor wearing full protective gear adjusts a face cover to his colleague at a hospital in Idlib, Syria. Photo: Anas Alkharboutli/picture alliance via Getty Images

A 39-year-old doctor tested positive for the coronavirus in northwestern Syria, making him the first confirmed case in the region, according to the aid group Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations.

Why it matters: The spread of COVID-19 in Syria, particularly in Aleppo, could have a devastating impact on people already displaced by the Syrian Civil War.

  • Over 4 million people live in northwestern Syria in densely populated conditions with little to no health care access. The government would not be able to handle an influx of COVID-19 cases, per UOSSM.

The state of play:

  • There are less than 300 ICU beds in Idlib and a very limited number of ventilators, most of which aren't available to treat potential coronavirus patients.
  • 85 medical facilities have been attacked in the past 12 months, and many are not functional.
  • "Years of war and malnutrition have left many people’s immune systems compromised and the entire population susceptible to drastically higher mortality rates," UOSSM notes.

Go deeper: Global coronavirus crisis leaves refugees vulnerable

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2020 - Health

Trump administration announces deal with CVS, Walgreens to give COVID-19 vaccine to seniors

Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Trump administration announced an agreement on Friday with CVS and Walgreens to distribute coronavirus vaccines to seniors and staff in long-term care facilities for free.

Why it matters: The move could help the president move up in the polls with elderly voters. Seniors, who have been significantly impacted by the virus, helped Trump get elected in 2016, but recent polls have indicated that the group swung sharply against him and toward Joe Biden.

Oct 17, 2020 - Health

Over 1,000 current and ex-CDC officers decry the "politicization" of the agency

President Trump calls on reporters during a news conference with White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 1,000 current and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officers have signed an open letter, decrying "the ominous politicization" of the agency throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The CDC is typically at the forefront of the U.S. response to public health crises, but the agency has largely been sidelined during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the White House attempting to control messaging, which, at times, contradicts scientific evidence.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump claims COVID "will go away" during debate.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

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