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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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Updated 8 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. reported a record 60,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours as infections continue increasing in hotspots like Florida, Texas and Arizona.

The big picture: As infections soar, deaths will inevitably follow. Public health departments are seeing record hospitalizations, and ICU beds are filling up as cases surge, a sign that more vulnerable populations could be contracting the virus.

Updated 15 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

Novel coronavirus cases in Africa surpassed 500,000 on Wednesday, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization's Africa branch.

The big picture: The virus has already killed more people in Africa than the Ebola outbreak did in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, AP reports, citing the WHO. The majority of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in the continent are located in South Africa.

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 11,863,477 — Total deaths: 544,949 — Total recoveries — 6,483,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 2,996,679 — Total deaths: 131,486 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.
1 hour ago - World

British government to subsidize 50% off restaurant meals

An outdoor restaurant in London on July 6, 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The British government will give diners a 50% discount on their restaurant bills as part of an effort to jumpstart the country's economy after emerging from its coronavirus lockdown, the U.K. Treasury announced Wednesday.

The state of play: Under the "Eat Out to Help Out" plan, each patron will get up to £10, or $12.57, off their meal — not including alcoholic beverages — if they eat out between Monday and Wednesday at businesses that sign up for the program.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes

A Harvard Law School graduate on campus before attending an online graduation ceremony on May 28. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harvard and MIT on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to block federal guidance that would largely bar foreign college students from taking classes if their universities move classes entirely online in the fall.

The big picture: Colleges, which often rely heavily on tuition from international students, face a unique challenge to safely get students back to class during the coronavirus pandemic. Some elite institutions, like Harvard, have already made the decision to go virtual.

3 hours ago - Sports

Sports in the coronavirus era might need an asterisk

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American sports leagues are back, and COVID-permitting, we're finally entering the period of uninterrupted sports bliss we've been anticipating for months.

The question: Given the unusual circumstances, it's worth considering how each season will be remembered years from now. So we pose the question: Do sports in 2020 need an asterisk?

4 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles

A worker helps check in people at a coronavirus testing center in Los Angeles. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

As most of the world's wealthy countries resume normal life with their coronavirus outbreaks under control, the U.S. is facing the same catastrophic problems that defined its early experience.

Why it matters: The longer the pandemic rages on, the more human lives it costs and economic devastation it causes.

6 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus deaths are rising in hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: The U.S. daily count had an anomalous spike on June 25 due to New Jersey recording a large number of probable deaths; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus deaths are ticking up in the new hotspots of Florida, Texas and Arizona, even as they continue to trend down nationally.

Why it matters: As infections soar, deaths will inevitably follow. And infections are soaring.

16 hours ago - Health

Texas reports more than 10,000 coronavirus cases

A person receiving a coronavirus test on July 7 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas reported a record 10,028 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to Texas Health and Human Services.

Why it matters: This is the first time the state reported more than 10,000 new cases in a single day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Scalise PAC invites donors to fundraiser at Disney World

Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s PAC is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day “Summer Meeting” at Disney World's Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC.

Why it matters: Scalise appears to be the first House lawmakers to host an in-person destination fundraiser since the severity of pandemic became clear. The invite for the “Summer Meeting” for the Scalise Leadership Fund, obtained by Axios, makes no mention of COVID-19.

18 hours ago - Health

At least 8 Mississippi lawmakers test positive for coronavirus

Mississippi State Capitol building. Photo by Rory Doyle/AFP via Getty Images

At least eight Mississippi state lawmakers have received positive tests for the novel coronavirus after many were in the Capitol building and chose not to wear masks or practice social distancing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The infected officials include 73-year-old Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, and 57-year-old House Speaker Philip Gunn — both of whom are Republicans.

18 hours ago - Health

Birx: Some Southern states "stepped on the gas" when reopening

Deborah Birx participates at the White House on July 7. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Many of the Southern states that are experiencing a significant surge in coronavirus infections "stepped on the gas" while lifting lockdown restrictions, unlike the regions in the North that were hit hard in March and April, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx told Wharton Business Daily on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House published non-binding guidelines in April that recommended states report 14 days of declining coronavirus cases before reopening. Most states did not meet that criteria, according to the New York Times.

20 hours ago - Health

Fauci: "False narrative" to take comfort in lower coronavirus death rate

Anthony Fauci testifies in Washington, D.C., on June 30. Photo: Al Drago/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci said at an event with Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) on Tuesday "that it's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death" from the coronavirus in the U.S., warning: "There’s so many other things that are dangerous and bad about the virus. Don’t get into false complacency."

The big picture: The mean age of Americans currently being infected by the virus has declined by 15 years compared to where it stood several months ago. This has been one contributing factor in the lower death rate the U.S. has experienced during the recent surge in cases, since "the younger you are, the better you do, and the less likely you're gonna get seriously ill and die," Fauci said.

Biden releases plan to strengthen coronavirus supply chain

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released a three-part plan Tuesday to rebuild U.S. supply chains in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and it's centered around the idea that the country is more vulnerable to global disruptions in spite of President Trump's "America First" rhetoric.

Why it matters: Biden is proposing a way to make sure the U.S. doesn't rely on other countries for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other related medical supplies. That's another way of acknowledging that we're not getting over this health crisis anytime soon.

23 hours ago - Health

Arizona reports record daily coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations

Arizona continues to administer coronavirus tests. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Arizona reported a record 117 new coronavirus deaths, 3,356 total hospitalizations, and 869 ICU beds in use on Tuesday, according to data from Arizona's Department of Health Services.

Why it matters: The number of daily deaths in coronavirus hotspots across the Sunbelt has not reached the levels that New York saw at the peak of its outbreak, likely because many of the new cases are young people with little to no symptoms. But that could start to change as hospitals reach maximum capacity and more vulnerable groups contract the virus.

23 hours ago - World

India reports third-highest coronavirus case count in the world

A health worker collects a swab sample for a COVID-19 test at MMG District Hospital on July 6 in Ghaziabad, India. Photo: Sakib Ali/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India has reported more coronavirus cases than any other countries but the U.S. and Brazil, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Schools, colleges, movie theaters, pools, religious gatherings and metro travel remain shut down according to guidance that lasts until the end of July, India's Ministry of Home Affairs announced last week.

Jul 7, 2020 - World

Brazil's Bolsonaro tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Andre Borges/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced Tuesday that he tested positive for coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil's coronavirus outbreak is one of the largest in the world, topped only by the U.S., and Bolsonaro has long downplayed the effects of the virus, pushing businesses to reopen over the last few months in order to jumpstart the country's economy.

Jul 7, 2020 - Health

Trump administration invests $2 billion in coronavirus drugs

A Novavax researcher prepares to test the vaccine. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense have awarded $1.6 billion to Novavax and $450 million to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as part of the federal government's efforts to speed up the development of coronavirus treatments.

The bottom line: Federal scientists are holding out hope that these companies' treatments, along with other vaccines in development, will snuff out the spread of the coronavirus.

Jul 7, 2020 - Health

EPA finds two Lysol sprays are effective killer of coronavirus on surfaces

Lysol disinfectant spray. Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it has approved two Lysol disinfectant sprays as effective tools for killing the novel coronavirus on surfaces.

The big picture: Touching surfaces or objects and then touching your face, nose or mouth is not believed to be the primary way the virus spreads, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance updated in late May.

Go deeper: CDC emphasizes coronavirus does not spread easily on surfaces

Rising coronavirus cases pause U.S. economic recovery

People eat at the outdoor dining area of a restaurant in New York City. Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Given the reporting lag for most traditional economic indicators, investors have turned to real-time data to assess the U.S. economy. Almost all of which shows business activity stalling or declining.

What's happening: Economists at Jefferies write in a note to clients that their in-house economic activity index has "flat-lined" and "has now been moving sideways for the past three weeks."

Jul 7, 2020 - Sports

Japan preps for baseball fans as U.S. struggles with coronavirus surge

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

While MLB struggles with testing delays ahead of its shortened season, Japan's Nippon Pro Baseball (NPB) — the world's second-best league behind MLB — has not only resumed play, but will soon allow fans at games.

Trump may lose swing voters by asking SCOTUS to strike down the ACA

Data: KFF; Graphic: Axios Visuals

President Trump’s decision to ask the Supreme Court to throw out the Affordable Care Act may alienate the independent voters who can swing the presidential election. That could be especially important in battleground states.

The big picture: Many of the ACA’s benefits are hugely popular with independents — even beyond protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which gets the most attention.

Jul 7, 2020 - Health

Hospitals, doctors are major recipients of PPP loans

Physicians' offices applied for PPP loans to help offset patient volumes that stopped. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Small hospitals, physician clinics, surgery centers, dental offices and other health care businesses were among the most common recipients of loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released by the federal government on Monday.

The big picture: Medical facilities had to halt routine procedures in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic as a way to prevent spread of infection and keep hospital beds open. PPP loans saved some, but certainly not all, of the jobs that are dependent on those routine procedures.

Jul 7, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: There is no new normal

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The longer the coronavirus pandemic lasts, the farther we're moving apart, according to our analysis of nearly four months of data from the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Ever since life in the U.S. as we knew it came to a screeching halt, we've been trying to get our heads around what a "new normal" will look like. But so far, the politicization of the virus — and our socioeconomic differences — are working against any notion of national unity in impact or response.

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