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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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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus threatens shortages of about 150 drugs

A medical worker in Beijing. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, according to two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Why it matters: China is a huge supplier of the ingredients used to make drugs that are sold in the U.S. If the virus decreases China's production capability, Americans who rely on the drugs made from these ingredients could be in trouble.

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South Korea raises alert level to red as coronavirus cases exceed 600

A hospital staff member carrying a suspected COVID-19 blood sample case to a medical center in Daegu, South Korea, on Sunday. Photo: Seung-il Ryu/NurPhoto via Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in raised the country's infectious disease alert level on Sunday to red, the highest possible, the New York Times reports, as the number of cases in the country jumped to 602 and the death toll to five.

Why it matters: South Korea now has more cases of COVID-19 than any country outside mainland China and only 32 fewer than the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the latest figures show.

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FDA approves new cholesterol prescription

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a non-statin oral medication to combat high cholesterol, according to a press release from manufacturer Eserion Therapeutics.

Why it matters: Heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S. and globally. The drug, bempedoic acid, is the first of its kind to receive the FDA's stamp of approval in nearly two decades.

Go deeperArrow23 hours ago - Health
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