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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Podcast: Masking coronavirus

As coronavirus spreads, people have rushed to buy face masks, leading to global shortages. Dan digs in with NPR science editor Maria Godoy.

Go deeper: Coronavirus updates

Democrats lay out demands for coronavirus funding

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement Thursday outlining their demands for coronavirus funding, including a guarantee that the eventual vaccine is affordable.

The big picture: Pelosi criticized the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak, calling it "chaotic" and chiding President Trump for "name-calling" and "playing politics." She added at a press conference that bipartisan congressional leaders are nearing an agreement on emergency funding.

Coronavirus updates: Japan closes schools and Saudi Arabia bans holy site visits

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 is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Wall Street falls into correction territory as coronavirus rout intensifies

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all entered correction territory on Thursday, down 10% from their recent record highs amid a global market rout that began earlier this week following a spike in the coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: Stocks fell more than 3% for a time on Thursday morning, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008, according to CNBC.

Microsoft and other tech firms sound alarm over coronavirus impact

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

More companies are saying publicly that disruptions caused by the coronavirus are hitting their bottom lines. Microsoft warned Wednesday that its personal computing unit, which includes Windows and Surface, will likely miss revenue expectations due to a slower-than-expected return to production after the Lunar New Year.

The big picture: Although Apple was the first big tech company to warn of a financial impact from the outbreak, most industry watchers said they expected the impact to be felt broadly across the industry, which depends heavily on China for manufacturing.

Saudi Arabia bans foreign pilgrims from visiting Mecca amid coronavirus fears

Muslim pilgrims walking around the Kaaba in Mecca. Photo: Abdulghani Basheer/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia announced Thursday that it is banning foreign pilgrims from entering the country to visit Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina due to the novel coronavirus, AP reports.

Why it matters: The unprecedented decision comes months ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage when millions of Muslims travel to the kingdom — and appears sparked in part by Iran's outbreak in the holy city of Qom. Saudi Arabia also said that it would suspend entry to tourists holding visas from 22 countries most affected by the virus.

Go deeper ... Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Coronavirus threatens Tokyo Olympics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With the Summer Olympics scheduled to open in Tokyo in less than five months, organizers are grappling with the coronavirus outbreak — and facing questions about whether the games could be moved, postponed, or even canceled.

The backdrop: Japan has closed schools nationwide until late March, and the country's professional baseball league is currently playing preseason games in empty stadiums.

Go deeperArrow5 hours ago - Sports

First supervised drug injection site in U.S. to open in Philadelphia

Advocates for safe injection sites rally in front of the James A Byrne Federal Courthouse in Center City, Philadelphia, on Sept. 5, 2019. Photo: Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The nation's first supervised drug-use site is set to open in Philadelphia next week, after a federal judge ruled Tuesday in favor of the nonprofit that plans to open it, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Advocates of such sites say that they help prevent deadly overdoses while potentially helping connect users with treatment, but federal law enforcement officials have said that they think such sites are illegal. The Justice Department — which brought the lawsuit against the nonprofit — said it's appealing the decision.

Go deeper: Opioid death rate in the U.S. decreased in 2018

Editor's note: The image has been changed to reflect a rally the supervised drug-use site in Philadelphia.

China's coronavirus outbreak prompts congressional scrutiny of health supply chain

Management personnel checks the production of medicine in a workshop of Youcare Pharmaceutical Group Co. in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Yuwei/Xinhua via Getty Images

The spotlight that the coronavirus has shone on our reliance on China for American drugs and medical devices has already prompted lawmakers to act.

Driving the news: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) both plan to introduce bills aimed at safeguarding the supply chain.

Go deeperArrow7 hours ago - Health

Colorado offers lessons for Democrats on creating a public option

Gov. Jared Polis leaves the Colorado State House floor on Jan. 9. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado lawmakers are preparing to vote on the state's public option proposal, providing an example of what happens when politicians take on the health care industry, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Democrats by and large want to do the same thing on a national scale, but promising more affordable coverage for everyone is a lot easier than actually passing legislation to make it happen.

Go deeperArrow7 hours ago - Health

Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - Health

Hospitals have been preparing for coronavirus uptick

Health care workers in Italy preparing for coronavirus cases. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Many U.S. hospitals have been stocking extra supplies and refreshing disaster preparation plans over the past month in the event the coronavirus becomes more prominent domestically.

The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that this infectious disease could spread more in the U.S., and hospitals have anticipated such scenarios.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - Health

More new coronavirus cases outside China than inside for first time

A tourist wearing a medical facemask in Venice, Italy. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP via Getty Images

The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time, the World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Wednesday.

Details: Tedros called the sudden increase in cases in South Korea (1,595), Italy (453) and Iran (141) "deeply concerning."

Go deeperArrow9 hours ago - Health

WHO official leads criticism of Trump's coronavirus response

President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Ezekiel Emanuel, special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

The big picture: As the number of confirmed cases reaches 60 in the U.S., the top health professional — who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration — is among several leading figures, in particular, Democrats, to criticize the president for his response to the outbreak.

Go deeperArrow13 hours ago - Health

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

CDC detects first possible community spread of coronavirus in U.S.

A virologist looking at an electron microscope image of a MERS coronavirus, a close relative of the novel coronavirus. Photo: Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images

A person in California who hadn't traveled to a country impacted by the novel coronavirus nor had any known contact with anyone infected by the virus has tested positive to COVID-19, the CDC said in a statement.

Why it matters: Per the CDC, "It's possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown." However, the patient may have "been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected," the CDC noted. "At this time, the patient's exposure is unknown," it said.

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