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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14 mins ago - Health

UConn becomes first FBS team to cancel its football season

The University of Connecticut announced Wednesday that it is cancelling its football program for the upcoming school year, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It's the first FBS program to back out of this year's season — and it could be just the first domino to fall among other major programs.

4 hours ago - Health

Moderna skirts disclosures of coronavirus vaccine costs

Photo: Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Moderna has not been living up to contractual obligations to disclose the percentage of taxpayer dollars that are funding its coronavirus vaccine project, but the pharmaceutical company tells Axios that federal money makes up "100% funding of the program."

Why it matters: Moderna has received almost $1 billion in taxpayer grants to get its vaccine through clinical trials and is considering setting the highest price of all coronavirus vaccine candidates.

4 hours ago - Health

There’s not much good news about kids and coronavirus

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The more we learn about kids and the coronavirus, the riskier reopening schools for in-person learning appears to be, at least in areas with high caseloads.

Why it matters: There have already been many reports about the virus spreading through schools and summer camps, and evidence has begun to support the notion that children can play a key role in community transmission.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,543,662 — Total deaths: 700,714 — Total recoveries — 11,143,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,236 — Total deaths: 156,807 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.
Updated 5 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

The death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 700,000 early Wednesday, Johns Hopkins data shows.

By the numbers: More than 18.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and over 11.1 million have recovered.

13 hours ago - Health

First bipartisan multistate coronavirus testing drive to tackle shortages

A Whittier Street Health Center nurse performs a COVID-19 test in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on Monday. Photo: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

A bipartisan group of governors has joined the Rockefeller Foundation to deliver 3 million rapid coronavirus antigen tests to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help states safely reopen, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: With no national plan, the initiative with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) would be the first coordinated testing strategy in the U.S.

16 hours ago - Health

Local governments go to war over schools

A protester during a demonstration in NYC. Photo: Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The next big coronavirus battleground will be over who has the final say on whether schools can stay open.

Why it matters: This involves the safety of young children and their parents, not to mention older educators and staff, and comes at the same time as many of the parents are out of work.

Updated 17 hours ago - Health

The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate on Tuesday for those in public, as well as for teachers and students going back to school.

The big picture: 34 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, have issued some form of mask mandate as infections surge across the country.

18 hours ago - Sports

Rafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open, citing rising coronavirus cases

Rafael Nadal at the ATP Mexican Open at Princess Mundo Imperial in February. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Defending champion Rafael Nadal tweeted Tuesday that he will not attend the 2020 U.S. Open due to rising coronavirus infections, noting that "it looks like we still don’t have control of it."

The big picture: The tournament was rescheduled over the summer to be held in August and September without spectators. Nadal's absence puts his bid to equal Roger Federer’s record for men's Grand Slam titles on pause.

CDC warns of uptick of rare polio-like illness in kids

Electron microscope photo of EV-D68, a suspect in causing AFM. Photo: Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Yiting Zhang/CDC

The CDC on Tuesday warned of an expected uptick in cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a rare polio-like illness that can disable and sometimes kill children.

Why it matters: The agency cautioned parents to overcome any reluctance driven by the coronavirus pandemic and urgently bring their kids to the hospital should they suspect a case — especially if they exhibit a telltale symptom like limb weakness.

19 hours ago - Health

Poll: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order

People lay out on the grass while maintaining social distancing guidelines in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Over half of Americans surveyed in a new NPR/Ipsos poll support a mandatory, nationwide order to shelter at home for two weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are rising across the U.S., which saw dramatic surges in new infections this summer. More than 155,000 Americans have died, per Johns Hopkins.

20 hours ago - Health

New York ER doctor on pandemic advice: "We know what works"

Dara Kass, an emergency medicine physician and professor at Columbia University Medical Center, said at an Axios virtual event Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak in New York should be a lesson to governors and federal leadership that there are ways to effectively flatten the curve from crisis levels.

Why it matters: New York was once the epicenter of the global pandemic, peaking at as many as 11,000 new cases and over 900 deaths per day in April. Today, thanks to a stringent lockdown, the state is consistently reporting fewer than 1,000 cases and 10 deaths per day.

20 hours ago - Health

Atrium Health CEO says "virtual hospital" has treated 13,000 COVID patients

Axios' Caitlin Owens and Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health.

Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene Woods said at an Axios virtual event Tuesday that the company's "virtual hospital" system helped treat 13,000 coronavirus patients from their homes.

Why it matters: Woods believes that the telemedicine approach could outlive the pandemic and be a core part of "how we deliver care differently in the future."

Updated 21 hours ago - Health

NYC health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response

Dr. Oxiris Barbot attends a Mayor bill de Blasio briefing on August 3. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York City health commissioner Oxiris Barbot resigned Tuesday, citing "deep disappointment" that Mayor Bill de Blasio did not use the full extent of available disease control expertise to handle the pandemic, the New York Times reports.

Context: De Blasio has faced criticism from health officials for handing control of the city's army of coronavirus contract tracers to the public hospital system, rather than the health department, according to the Times. The health department conducted contact tracing at the start of the outbreak and has decades of experience doing the same for diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and Ebola.

Updated 21 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

Despite some new case decreases, COVID-19 deaths are on the rise in the U.S., with California reporting a record-high average this week.

Driving the news: President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

21 hours ago - Health

Attorneys general ask feds to use march-in rights for remdesivir

Gilead helped develop remdesivir, an IV coronavirus treatment, with federal funding. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Thirty-four state and territory attorneys general sent a letter today to federal health agencies asking the federal government to exercise march-in drug rights for remdesivir as a way "to help increase the supply of this drug and lower the price so it is accessible to our state residents."

The big picture: March-in rights — which would allow a patented drug developed with federal dollars to be licensed out to third parties — have never been exercised before. Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer and patent holder of remdesivir, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aug 4, 2020 - Health

UN head says global school closures could cause "generational catastrophe"

Students wear masks and face shields at school in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Sai Aung Main/AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the largest disruption of education in history, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, AP reports.

Why it matters: Over 1 billion students were affected by closures in more than 160 countries in mid-July. Guterres warned the situation could lead to "a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities."

Aug 4, 2020 - Health

40% of Americans continue to put off medical care

Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon

Roughly 40% of Americans have postponed getting medical care due to the coronavirus outbreak. That number has stayed around 40% in all 12 weeks of the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey.

Why it matters: Hospitals and doctors started rescheduling surgeries and other appointments as early as mid-May, and many patient volumes are mostly back to pre-pandemic numbers. But this data suggests there is still a major backlog of Americans who need care — a phenomenon that existed well before the pandemic.

Aug 4, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Fauci: Schools can reopen with safeguards, but those in virus hot spots shouldn't

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at Capitol Hill in July. Photo Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Monday schools and colleges should be able to reopen for in-person classes, but they must take precautions to ensure the safety of students and teachers during the pandemic, per CNN.

Of note: Students benefit psychologically from being in a classroom, Fauci said. The American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated for in-person classes resuming, noting in a statement the mental health benefits of doing so. "[T]here is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020."

Trump authorizes reduced National Guard coronavirus response funding

Members of the Nevada National Guard put down social distancing decals at a new coronavirus testing site in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

President Trump issued a memo Monday announcing he's reauthorized funding for the National Guard to assist states with their response to the coronavirus pandemic until the end of 2020.

The big picture: Trump's memo to the secretaries of Homeland Security and Defense outlines that the federal government won't fully cover states for National Guard use when the current authorization expires on Aug. 21.

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