HCA's hospitals are closing the books on a profitable Q3, despite the pandemic. Photo: Rusty Russell/Getty Images

HCA Healthcare is giving back $1.6 billion of federal bailout payments and paying back $4.4 billion in Medicare loans early. The money was intended to help hospitals weather the pandemic as patients delayed elective care.

Why it matters: Over the summer, the hospital industry said the pandemic was resulting in "the greatest financial crisis we have ever faced in our history." But HCA expects to report higher revenue and adjusted profits in the third quarter.

By the numbers: The taxpayer bailout payments represented 55% of HCA's profit in the second quarter.

  • Hospitals and other health care providers secured $175 billion in bailouts from Congress since the start of the pandemic.

What they're saying: HCA CEO Sam Hazen said in a press release that returning the funds and repaying the loans early was "appropriate and the socially responsible thing to do."

What we're watching: Finances at other large hospital systems similarly improved in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter.

  • That trend likely could continue as more people rescheduled surgeries and saw their doctors, despite the persistence of coronavirus cases throughout the country.

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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Large shares of women, seniors and independents now say they're less likely to trust President Trump for accurate information about COVID-19 since he caught it himself, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Week 28 of our national survey has most Americans rejecting ideas that Trump has floated around hydroxychloriquine as a virus treatment, how herd immunity works or any imminent availability of a vaccine.

Oct 20, 2020 - World

Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million coronavirus cases

High school students at an improvised classroom in the yard of their school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Oct. 13. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images

Argentina's health ministry reported 12,982 new coronavirus cases Monday night, taking the country's total to 1,002,662.

Why it matters: Argentina is the fifth country to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, after Russia (over 1.4 million), Brazil (more than 5.2 million), India (7.5-plus) and the U.S. (over 8.2 million), per Johns Hopkins. "It means one in every 45 Argentinians have had the virus," the Guardian notes. The country reported Monday that the virus had killed another 451 people, taking the death toll to over 26,000.

Editor's note: The headline of this story has been corrected to show Argentina passed 1 million cases not 5 million.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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