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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CDC confirms 2,807 hospital cases of lung injury linked to vaping

Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

There are 2,807 confirmed hospital cases of lung injury associated with vaping in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 27 mins ago - Health

68 reported dead from vaping-related lung illness

Photo: Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

68 people have died from a lung injury associated with e-cigarette use in 29 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb. 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 30 mins ago - Health

CDC warns it's anticipating spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.

Photo: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

57 people have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus in the U.S., an increase in cases largely driven by the repatriation of American citizens from the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

The big picture: As more countries experience community-wide transmission, CDC official Dr. Nancy Messonnier told reporters that it's now a question of when the same will happen in the U.S. — and how many citizens will develop a severe illness.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus spreads to new countries, while U.S. confirms 57 cases

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.

Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship — an increase they had expected after the passengers were allowed to return home from Japan against their initial advice.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There's only been two cases of person-to-person infections in the U.S. so far, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now warning that Americans should prepare for a much broader outbreak here.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Olympic official: Tokyo is "looking at a cancellation" if coronavirus not contained by late May

View of the Olympic Rings near the new National Stadium in Tokyo. Photo: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The fate of the Tokyo Olympics is expected to be decided within the next three months amid fears surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told the Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday.

The state of play: The games are on as of now, but the committee's final decision will depend on discussions with the World Health Organization, Pound said. The Olympics are set to bring roughly 11,000 athletes to Tokyo, with the event scheduled to begin on July 24. Another 4,400 athletes will arrive in Japan for the Paralympics set to start on Aug. 25.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Sports

Mallinckrodt proposes $1.6 billion opioid settlement via bankruptcy

Mallinckrodt offices in New Jersey. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Mallinckrodt is floating a $1.6 billion proposal to settle allegations that it fueled the opioid crisis by pushing its painkillers. The drug company would make payments in the eight years after its generics business, which sells oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, emerges from bankruptcy.

Why it matters: The attorneys general from 47 states and territories, as well as the plaintiffs in the global opioid lawsuit, are supporting the deal, Mallinckrodt said. Mallinckrodt's brand-name drug business will not be affected, but its generics bankruptcy marks the third opioids bankruptcy, after Purdue Pharma and Insys Therapeutics.

Coronavirus disrupts sporting events around the world

People walking in Milan, Italy, on Feb 25. Photo: Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and has begun impacting a slew of international sporting events as the window to prevent a global pandemic narrows.

The state of play: Four Serie A soccer matches in Northern Italy were canceled, and the government wants future games in areas affected by the outbreak to be played behind closed doors without fans.

Go deeperArrow7 hours ago - Sports

The U.S. is still taking on measles during the coronavirus threat

A patient receiving the measles vaccine on Aug. 28, 2019. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The U.S. is still grappling with old diseases like measles — as well as enduring problems like addiction and heart disease — even as it tries to combat new threats like the coronavirus, the Washington Post reports with Kaiser Health News.

Why it matters: While we race for new treatments in the wake of new threats, we're also beset by plenty of problems we know how to solve. Declining vaccination rates, for example, are allowing once-vanquished diseases to come roaring back, and holes in addiction treatment keep people at risk.

Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt in turmoil as opioid settlements mount

Mallinckrodt offices in Bedminster, New Jersey. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Legal and financial troubles continue to mount for two prominent opioid manufacturers.

The big picture: The prospect of multibillion-dollar settlements — which are still a long way from being hashed out — is bringing painkiller companies that were once immensely wealthy to their knees.

Go deeperArrow10 hours ago - Health

How a coronavirus scare can lead to surprise medical bills

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A man in Miami went to the hospital to receive a test for the coronavirus after developing flu-like symptoms, only to receive the news that he didn't have it — and a $3,270 medical bill, the Miami Herald reports.

Why it matters: The man had just returned from a work trip to China, so took his symptoms more seriously than normal, which is exactly what public health experts want people to do.

Go deeperArrow10 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus "infodemic" threatens world's health institutions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak is being matched, or even outrun, by the spread on social media of both unintentional misinformation about it and vociferous campaigns of malicious disinformation, experts tell Axios.

Why it matters: The tide of bad information is undermining trust in governments, global health organizations, nonprofits and scientists — the very institutions that many believe are needed to organize a global response to what may be turning into a pandemic.

Go deeperArrow11 hours ago - Health

America's addiction treatment misses the mark

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Addiction treatment in the U.S. is critically necessary yet deeply flawed.

The big picture: Drug overdoses kill tens of thousands of Americans a year, but treatment is often inaccessible. The industry is also riddled with subpar care and, in some cases, fraud.

Go deeperArrow11 hours ago - Health

Trump administration asks Congress for $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus

President Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the White House in September. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Details: The request for the Department of Health and Human Services includes $1.25 billion in new funds to fight COVID-19 and the transfer of $535 million from untouched funds for the Ebola virus.

Go deeperArrow18 hours ago - Health

The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

Go deeperArrow21 hours ago - World
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