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.

All health stories

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,294,091 — Total deaths: 741,420— Total recoveries: 12,591,454Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,141,207 — Total deaths: 164,537 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.
  7. World: Anthony Fauci "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe
19 mins 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: The World Organization official Tarik Jarasevic told a United Nations 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, connecting with his most loyal supporters on a massive scale. But Trump stressed to Hewitt and in a separate radio interview earlier Tuesday that it wouldn't work. "You can’t have empty seats," Trump told with Fox News Radio.

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it's too early to say whether next month's elections will be postponed after she announced Tuesday four people had tested positive for COVID-19 after no local cases for 102 days.

Zoom in: NZ's most populous city, Auckland, has gone on lockdown for 72 hours and the rest of the country is under lesser restrictions.

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.

9 hours ago - Health

Russia’s vaccine gamble

Russia announced Tuesday that it approved a vaccine for COVID-19 and has plans to inoculate health care workers, teachers and others in the coming months, despite barely starting Phase 3 clinical trials.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the ramifications of this announcement for the global vaccine race with Derek Lowe, medicinal chemist, author and expert on drug development and the pharmaceutical industry.

10 hours ago - Health

Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine

A volunteer in Moderna's vaccine clinical trial receives a shot. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.

Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.

11 hours ago - Health

Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp puts on a mask after speaking at a press conference. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

A record 137 people have died from the coronavirus in Georgia on Tuesday, surpassing the state's record from last week, according to the Georgia Health Department.

By the numbers: Georgia is one of several states in the South that saw spikes in daily deaths on Tuesday, including Florida which had a record 276 deaths. Alabama and Tennessee recorded their second-highest daily death tolls at 50 and 38, respectively.

Updated 11 hours ago - Sports

PAC-12 and Big Ten postpone fall sports due to coronavirus

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday that they've voted to postpone their 2020 fall sports seasons, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.

Why it matters: The move from two of the most prominent conferences in college sports will almost certainly prompt other Power Five leagues to follow suit.

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. plans to test around 600,000 people for the coronavirus every day in August, according to plans that states submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Why it matters: That's likely a drop in testing, compared to July, and not enough to meet national demand. The Trump administration has said it's up to states to develop their own plans for diagnostic testing. Those plans, when put together, still don't present an effective mitigation strategy, at least in light of the size of today's outbreak.

15 hours ago - Health

Florida reports another daily record for coronavirus deaths

Nurse practitioner Barbara Corral and a research assistant conduct a COVID-19 vaccination study on August 7 in Hollywood, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida's health department on Tuesday reported 276 new coronavirus deaths, surpassing the state's record from July 31.

The big picture: The state also recorded over 5,800 new cases — on the low side for a state that is one of the domestic epicenters for the virus.

Updated 16 hours ago - Health

N.Y., N.J. and Conn. to require travelers from 31 states to quarantine

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Travelers from 31 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are now required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

What's new: Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were added to the travel advisory list on Tuesday, while Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico and Rhode Island were removed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

National Governors Association leaders express concern over Trump's unemployment order

President Trump at a press briefing on Aug. 10. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's executive action calling on states to provide 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits poses "significant administrative burdens and costs," according to a bipartisan letter from the leaders of the National Governors Association.

Why it matters: Many states have had their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic and cannot afford pitching in an $100 extra per unemployed resident. Several state unemployment offices told Axios that they don't even know how the program works, and that any changes to state unemployment systems would take weeks to implement.

Why you should be skeptical of Russia's coronavirus vaccine claims

Photo: Alexey Druzhini/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has registered a coronavirus vaccine and said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated, AP reports.

Why it matters: Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia's claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin's claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects.

Updated 21 hours ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a four members of the same family tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.

22 hours ago - Health

Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for coronavirus vaccine

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Moderna said in new financial filings that it "cannot be certain that we were the first to make the inventions claimed in our patents or pending patent applications" — including the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: This disclosure comes six weeks after Axios and Public Citizen highlighted how the National Institutes of Health may hold joint ownership claims for this particular vaccine.

23 hours ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to the virus

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We've hit a tipping point in the pandemic: Half of Americans now know someone who's tested positive, according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: In practical terms, this data shows it's everybody's problem now.

State coronavirus testing plans fall short of demand

Data: Department of Health and Human Services via Harvard Global Health Institute; Note: New York City's plan is included in New York state; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. plans to test around 600,000 people for the coronavirus every day this month, according to plans that states submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Yes, but: That's likely a drop in testing, compared to July, and it's not enough to meet national demand. By December, states said they plan to ramp up to around a collective 850,000 people tested a day — which also likely will not be enough.

Aug 11, 2020 - World

Australia's Northern Territory extends coronavirus border restrictions to 2022

Monsoons Bar in Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory, where borders have been open to residents not in coronavirus hot spots since July 17. Those from states under restrictions must undergo a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine at their own cost. Photo: Shane Eecen/Getty Images

Chief Minister Michael Gunner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Tuesday the Northern Territory would keep border restrictions in place for Aussie coronavirus hot spots for at least 18 months, stressing it's important to protect the NT's Aboriginal population.

Driving the news: Victoria declared a disaster last week. The state confirmed Tuesday another 331 infections, taking the total number of active cases to 7880, and 19 more deaths — equaling the national daily record it set the previous day. New South Wales (NSW) reported 22 new cases. The NT has three active cases. "We have got an indefinite ban on Victoria," Gunner said. He couldn't give a date on when the NT would ease restrictions on NSW capital Sydney as case numbers were "bubbling away."

Flashback: Australia and New Zealand reopen after coronavirus cases plummet

Aug 11, 2020 - Health

Georgia governor: It's up to schools to enforce wearing masks

Gov. Brian Kemp at a press conference on Aug. 10. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday said the responsibility should be on schools to enforce a mandate on face coverings, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.

Why it matters: Georgia is reporting the fifth-most coronavirus cases in the country, per Johns Hopkins, and the risk of spread in the state is high.

More health stories