Health

Why it matters: The U.S. faces a range of health care flashpoints — unaffordable drugs, opioids, vaping — as we debate whether to adopt universal care. For now, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but Republicans want to issue it a final death blow.

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Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 20,428,562 — Total deaths: 744,733— Total recoveries: 12,631,548Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 5,171,343 — Total deaths: 165,328 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin called her, White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.
Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

The latest: Around 3 p.m., Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a statement saying that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had initiated a phone call and made clear that the White House is "not budging from their position concerning the size and scope of a legislative package."

New Jersey governor allows schools to reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2019. Phoot: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order allowing private and public K-12 schools and universities to reopen for in-person learning in September.

The big picture: New York and New Jersey have now authorized school districts to begin reopening. Both states and Connecticut ordered travelers from 31 states to quarantine before crossing their state borders after they were able to manage the pandemic.

2 hours ago - Health

Florida sheriff bans employees from wearing masks

Sheriff woods. Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Sheriff Billy Woods of Marion County, Fla., prohibited his employees from wearing masks at work on Tuesday, disputing — in spite of scientific evidence — that they help curb the spread of coronavirus, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Why it matters: Many large police departments only suggest officers wear masks, and some have faced public scrutiny for tenuous or nonexistent mask policies. But Woods is among the first law enforcement officials to outright ban masks for his department, according to the Washington Post.

5 hours ago - Health

Poll: America's confidence in public school system jumps amid pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's confidence in the public school system rose by 12 points this year to 41% — its highest point since 2004, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Why it matters: "Double-digit increases in confidence for any institution are exceedingly rare," Gallup notes. The jump comes as teachers, administrators and parents are still figuring out how to safely get kids back to school in the midst of a global pandemic, as the U.S. reports the most coronavirus infections and fatalities in the world.

Murder rate surges in big cities

The scene of a Sunday shooting in Southeast D.C. that killed a 17 year old. Four gunmen fired at least 100 rounds amid hundreds of people at a block party, hitting 22, per the WashPost. Photo: NBC4 via AP

Major cities saw a spike in murders this summer, even as overall crime rates remained at a generational low, according to The New York Times.

Where it stands: The average murder rate across 20 major cities averaged 37% higher at the end of June than at the end of May, the Times reports, citing University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld. It increased by 6% over the same period last year.

11 hours ago - Health

The top-selling drugs in the U.S. in 2019

Data: IQVIA, company financial documents; Note: Data has been corrected for Biktarvy, Enbrel, Januvia, Remicade and Stelara (more info below). Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The 10 highest-selling drugs in the U.S. last year gave away more than $23 billion in rebates to insurance intermediaries, but still netted $50 billion in sales.

The big picture: The U.S. drug pricing system is filled with confusing numbers, and many entities profit off the flow of drugs, but pharmaceutical companies retain a vast majority of the proceeds.

11 hours ago - Health

America's flying blind on its coronavirus response

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A month after the Trump administration changed how hospital data is reported, the public release of this data "has slowed to a crawl," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: This is the latest example of how the world's wealthiest country just can't get it together.

Updated 12 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The United Kingdom slumped into recession on Wednesday, as its gross domestic product GDP shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

By the numbers: Over 741,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and more than 20.2 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. Almost 12.6 million have recovered from the virus.

13 hours ago - World

Lebanon reports coronavirus record: UN warns Beirut blast may drive cases higher

Protesters commemorate on Tuesday the victims of Beirut's Aug. 4 port explosion, which killed at least 158 people and injured some 6,000 others. Photo: Marwan Naamani/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Lebanon reported on Tuesday seven deaths from COVID-19 and a record 309 new cases, taking the total number of infections to over 7,100.

Why it matters: World Organization official Tarik Jarasevic told a UN briefing in Geneva Tuesday that the displacement of some 300,000 people from the deadly explosion in Beirut's port could lead to a surge in cases. A UN report warns the emergency "has caused many COVID-19 precautionary measures to be relaxed, raising the prospects of even higher transmission rates and a large caseload in coming weeks," Reuters notes.

Trump rules out socially distanced rallies: "You can't have empty seats"

The upper section is partially empty as President Trump speaks during his June campaign rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump said during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday he'd love to hold campaign rallies, but he "can't because of the covid. ... you can't have people sitting next to each other."

Why it matters: Trump is known for electrifying crowds at rallies and connecting with loyal supporters on a huge scale. But Trump stressed to Hewitt and in a separate radio interview earlier Tuesday that it wouldn't work while social distancing is required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "You can’t have empty seats," Trump told with Fox News Radio.

20 hours ago - Health

Fauci says he "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe

NIAID director Anthony Fauci testifies during a July congressional hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Kevin DietschI/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci cast doubt during a National Geographic discussion due to air this week on the effectiveness of Russia's registered coronavirus vaccine touted by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "Having a vaccine ... and proving that a vaccine is safe and effective are two different things," Fauci told told ABC News' Deborah Roberts in the discussion, expected to air on Thursday. His comments add to the weight of skepticism from scientists around the world on the Russia vaccine. There is no published scientific to support support Putin's claims.

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